Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know...

Oh, how I envy people of faith ...people who, like the song says, "know" that Jesus loves them.

Last week I attended funeral services in New York and Texas. My family buried my mother at West Point and then celebrated her life in College Station. And even though I am not the believer I was when I grew up in the Episcopal Church, I found great comfort in the services. I'm not sure whether it was the familiar language and setting, or standing shoulder to shoulder with my brothers, or the collective faith of the congregation, but I did feel better. Mom always used to say that the beauty of the Episcopal funeral service was that it celebrated both the life lost and the promise of life everlasting. Who wouldn't feel better?

Somewhere along the line, I lost my faith. I believe in God, of course. How else can we explain this amazing world of ours? It couldn't have "just happened," could it? But the story of God born as man, tortured and executed by other men, only to become God again ...the more I thought about it, the more I questioned it, the weaker my faith became. As for organized religion: do we really need priests and churches to tell us what God expects of us, or how to talk to God, or how to live good and godly lives? And what kind of God stands by as believers kill non-believers and non-believers kill believers, while people around the very world He created suffer from hunger, disease, and the like? Is that God likely to answer your prayers, even as He ignores the prayers of others?

I suppose that if I had faith, questions like those wouldn't matter so much. But it is the very reason and free will with which God blessed me that keeps me from embracing faith with no questions asked. 

Ironic, no?

Mom firmly believed that when she died, she would go to heaven and be reunited with Dad. I want to believe that, too, even though I don't have a logical explanation or proof for it. I guess maybe that's a good first step.