I have a project I’m planning – it’s loosely called “Big Churchy Words for Kids” and will hopefully be either a book or curriculum that tackles some of the jargon and specialty words that we as Christians often use, in order to break them down into digestible bits for kids. The bit I’ve been chewing on lately is faith.
I do a lot of my thinking in the car on my commute in to Media, and today the phrase “blind faith” kept coming back to me. And honestly, I don’t like it. Yes, Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV) And popular culture shouts aloud, saying that religious faith is unprovable and invisible and therefore, all in our heads. But this cultural definition of faith isn’t biblical, and Hebrews itself refutes the shallow “blind faith” idea easily by reminding us of the very real evidence we have for God’s action in human history, time, and space – our great cloud of witnesses! In fact, it gives us a full litany of reasons to believe in God’s provision and presence when we doubt, and despite what we may or may not see.
This week, we celebrate Pentecost – the gifted presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and church and world. One of the most easily accessible metaphors for the Holy Spirit is spirit itself – the Hebrew ruach, meaning breath or wind. We can’t see it – but everywhere, it’s easy to both see its effects and feel it as it affects us. Breathe on your hand. Fly a kite. Witness the devastation from the wind after a hurricane. No one denies its power.
So on Pentecost, look for the evidence. A changed heart. A changed life! A renewed relationship. The deliverance from addiction or disease. A fresh vision from the Lord. The presence of God in our great cloud of witnesses, past and present. The Holy Spirit is here, and moving, and is the same Holy Spirit as descended on Jesus, and came to the apostles as tongues of fire. Faith was not blind that day – rather it was made manifest as its coming reverberated throughout the ages, spreading faith in Christ across the globe.
Pentecost isn’t a celebration of blind faith – it’s the recognition and celebration that God delivers on His promises, as evidenced all around us in our lives, in the lives of others, and in our history as a body of Christ. Take some time this week, and look for the evidence of the Holy Spirit, and embrace its guidance, comfort, and power, knowing that God is with you now and always.