PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: Faith — Keep your eyes on Jesus

They tell us that among the most disliked words and phrases from 2017 are “fake news,” “going forward” and  “no offense but.”

Truly, in this still fairly new year of 2018, one word that remains important in our lives is “faith.”

If you are reading this quarterly publication, then you most probably are a person of faith to one degree or another.

Faith can be explained as the substance of things hoped for — the evidence of things not seen — a biblical way of understanding it.

But what is faith?

In January 1915, the ship Endurance was trapped in the ice of Antarctica. The group of polar explorers led by Capt. Shackleton survived and managed to reach an island and stayed on that uninhabited place for more than three months.

A small number of them ventured out in a small lifeboat for 800 miles looking for help. After four more months, Shackleton came back for the original men and saved them all.

What held them together and caused them to survive was their faith and hope in their captain.

Our Christian and Catholic faith moves us to put our hope and trust in the person of Christ Jesus. The Lord is our captain. We the faithful are in the same boat, touched by the challenges and troubles of living as well as the blessings and good things.

Sometimes, faith can even become stronger and more vibrant when it is tested by some dilemma. Sometimes, faith becomes more intense after a period of severe doubt.

Most of the time faith simply is lived out by keeping your eyes on the Lord and his ways.

Once, when hiking in the rain forest of Puerto Rico, walking over a rope bridge suspended high in the air, I was a bit scared. The guide said, “Fix your eyes on me; don’t look down.”

That’s a helpful posture and stance for the faithful person — keep your eyes on Jesus.

Real faith usually involves some risk, too. Real faith also makes itself known by the good works and practical expressions the spin off from a genuine and true faith.

An old church hymn spoke of it this way:

“Faith is the power that prompts us to go and give to the hungering bread. Faith means much more than a doctrine or two. For faith without works is all but dead.”

The word “faith” never will be picked as an annoying word in this year of any other year.