Surrounded by others in faith

By | August 1, 2011

Elijah and Peter are men of faith, devoted to God, and like us, constantly learning new things about who God is and where God might be found. For Elijah, God was experienced not in the power of whirlwind or fire and earthquake but in a tiny whispering breeze.

For Peter, life was a rhythm of faith and doubt, trust and fear. After getting out of the boat to join Jesus on the storm-tossed lake, Peter realized what he was doing and became frightened. Yet even in his doubt there was enough faith to trust that Jesus would save him.

All of us have days when our faith seems strong as well as the difficult times when we can’t seem to feel God’s presence or when we’re so conscious of our own failings that all we can do is cry for help. Even fearful, doubting pleas are based in a trust that the one to whom we pray loves us enough to answer.

Recently I spent time at Lifefest in Oshkosh. People came from all over to celebrate life and faith and to enjoy Christian music with others who also love the Lord. One young woman commented how great it was to be with people where you didn’t have to apologize for being a Christian. We often forget the importance of the support of others.

Each Sunday we have that same opportunity at Mass. We join with others to pray, sing and profess a common faith in one Lord, one church, and one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We express this shared faith as we pray the Nicene Creed. The creed is not a compendium of doctrines, but rather, a concise statement of our core beliefs about God, Jesus, the church and the purpose of life. During the creed we stand together and profess that there is only one God, who is a Trinity of persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We confess that this God is a loving father and creator of all that is. We testify that out of love for us, he sent the Son as our redeemer. And even though we cannot explain exactly how — we know that through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus became incarnate — the best of what it means to be human.

We also believe that Jesus is the first-born of many brothers and sisters. Our faith is not a matter of private revelation, but is shared and strengthened and grows through the guidance of the Spirit within the church. We wait in joyful hope in the midst of life because we believe that as Jesus rose and returned to the Father, he will come to take us home, helping us pass through death to eternal life.

And we believe that our transformation in the Eucharist is meant for the salvation of the world — and so we leave each Sunday, sent on mission to live and share our faith by word and example.

This Sunday, perhaps we can listen as we recite the creed and give thanks that we are surrounded and sustained by others who love the Lord and who believe as we do.

Sr. Rehrauer is the diocesan director of Evangelization and Worship.

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