What Faith Looks Like

By Ken Asel

Reading from the Gospel of John, 12:44-50

44 Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. 47I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, 49for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. 50And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”


Reading chapter 12 of John’s Gospel, there have been times I have felt I was playing with a yo-yo. Moments of glory, such as dinner at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus; the powerful entry into Jerusalem; days in which seekers approached the disciples, longing to know the Lord. Then, suddenly, Jesus is grieving, he is betrayed, he is approaching death; religious leaders who could support him fade into the shadows, unwilling to risk their prominence.

John the Beloved is guiding us, not just through the story of Jesus, but through the encounter every Christian has when the Father speaks to us through Jesus, and the Redeemer becomes real in our hearts. A person of faith experiences joy and sorrow, insight and awe, disappointment and rebirth through the Holy Spirit. Most wondrous of all, we share many of these emotions simultaneously with our Lord himself as we are welcomed into the community of Christ, in moments of darkness and of light.

Today we remember someone who lived this dynamic and holy life: Theodore of Tarus, Archbishop of Canterbury in the seventh century. Theodore was sent by Rome to rein in the fractious Celtic expression of Christianity, which valued traditions and practices other than what were common in the Mediterranean world. Theodore continued the work of Augustine of Canterbury to Latinize and unify the religious customs of the Irish, Scots, and Britons. It wasn’t all success. Ironically, Theodore was suspect in Rome for being too Eastern and Greek in his theology. But he lived the words of Jesus, who said, “I came not to judge the world, but to save it.”

(The Reverend) J. Kenneth Asel, D.Min. is a retired priest from the Diocese of Wyoming. Devvie and he have been married more than 28 years and reside in the Texas Hill Country.

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