A Visible Faith
Some of us are visual people: we need to see something in order to understand it. That’s a challenge in many areas of our lives, particularly when the very thing that’s supposed to give us comfort, assurance, meaning, and wholeness – God, in Jesus, through the Holy Spirit – depends on faith, not sight.
Yet, what if we thought about “faith” as a form of sight? We’ve likely heard that “faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see” (Hebrews 11:1 CEB). This seems like a form of sight to me, a way of seeing the reality of the kingdom of God, so that we can become what we see by the Holy Spirit.
Last month, we explored “Why Church?” with Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. In November, we’ll turn our gaze toward the mystery of living into the kingdom of God by faith with a preaching series that places scripture in conversation with significant pieces of art: “Starry Night,” “Wheat Field with a Lark,” Sandhills cranes, and “Christ Pantocrator.”
To explore “A Visible Faith” through this sermon series is to develop a sense of spiritual sight. Our goal in life is not to be able to see God on Sundays or Wednesdays in the church building, or to see God when we open the Bible while its open. Rather, our goal is that through our community’s shared Christian practices – worship and prayer, scripture reading, works of mercy and justice, giving, and sharing our faith – God would grow in us spiritual sight to see God at work in our lives and the world, to see God’s kingdom as the reality wrought upon our whole world and whole lives. We don’t just need to see Jesus in church or scripture; we need to see Jesus walking with every day.
Thus, we’ll practice looking at the world and ourselves through some pieces of art in conversation with scripture. Reading art and reading scripture require similar mental, spiritual, and emotional tools. Speaking of art: we ask questions about the artist’s intent; we explore the experiences of the artist; we consider how this piece fits with other pieces of art by the artist and others; we ask how it makes us feel, what it makes us think; and we seek to draw conclusions or interpretations that have impact on our lives. We do similar things when we read scripture. And so, we will, together. May the Holy Spirit guide our journey, that we may grow in our spiritual sight, enabling us to see God, God’s kingdom, and God’s will for our place and roles in the kingdom.
The Engagement Sheets (bulletins) for each Sunday will have the main preaching texts, as well as name of the piece of art. These can be used for small group or individual reflection. If you’d like the scriptures and art pieces ahead of time, please contact the office.
Also in November, worship on November 5 will include acts of remembrance for all who’ve died in the past year – our way of celebrating All Saints Day. On November 19 at 11 AM worship, the Chancel Choir will lead worship with a choral service of thanksgiving and praise.