Rev.  Jan Bihl
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Love Does!

 Love waits.Love watches over us. Love breathes new life. Love speaks. Love invites. Love moves.[1]

 …and God is Love.

 Amazing!

 Do I believe it? Do YOU believe it?

 I am asking this question in its pre-modern sense.[2]

In English, prior to Modernity, the verb believe always had a person as its direct object, not a statement…it did not mean believing that a statement is true…but more like what we mean when we say to somebody, “I believe in you.”…

The meaning of believe prior to about 1600 includes more. It comes from the Old English be loef, which means “to hold dear”. The similarity to the modern English word belove is obvious…Believing and beloving were synonyms.

The fate of faith is similar. In modern English, this noun has acquired meanings that are quite different from its premodern meanings…faith is often identified  with believing…in God or in the doctrines of a religion… [and] as a synonym for religion. “What faith are you?”…but neither of these modern meanings is what faith meant in premodern Christianity.

The ancient meanings are expressed by the Latin words fidelitas and fiducia…

Fidelitas means “fidelity: - faithfulness. Think of what faithfulness means in human relationship…commitment, loyalty, allegiance, and attentiveness to the relationship. So it is in our relationship with God.

Feducia means “trust”. Faith in God is more than commitment…it is also about deep trust in God. Here the opposite of faith is not infidelity, but “mistrust” – that is, anxiety. Deep faith – as trust, fiducia – liberates us from anxiety…Think of how different faith as fidelity and trust, as fidelitas and fiducia, is from faith as believing a set of statements to be true.

Let’s use this lens to ponder the stories of Joseph and Mary. Their work is the work of believing – in the sense of beloving. Acting in faith – as in a deep trust in God. A deep trust that Love is at work. That Love waits and watches…and invites them to participate in Love’s movement.

Mary and Joseph’s work of believing and trusting this Love is soul work.

 As with them, so it is with us. Love waits and watches over us. Love speaks. Love invites us…

 And when we respond with our “yes”…Love really moves.

 So... whether you and I are around the Christmas tree or the Christmas dinner table, or in the preparations… whether at work or school or play or pondering our repurposing work here at the church… let us actively believe in and trust in God, in Jesus…who is Love…waiting, watching, speaking, inviting and on the move!  

Will you and I believe it?

Love Does!

[1] From There Was a Time: An Advent Poem by Fr. Joseph Breighner
[2]  From Marcus Borg:  Speaking Christian, 2011 – pgs. 118 - 124