Faith belongs to the broken. The ones who have felt the blows of time and chance. Those who have felt the weakness of the ones they trust and worse their own weakness. Some are born into bald-faced brokenness and find faith in a blaze of desperation and whole hearted pursuit. Their’s are the testimonies of radical conversion and tv worthy transformation. Others must face disillusionment to find faith. Their stories are slow, painful, tedious. They leave and come back and sometimes leave again. If you’ve been broken faith belongs to you. It offers hope that God can and will put all the broken pieces back in place.
Faith belongs to the tired. Those who began the journey with big bursts of energy. Who ran in sprints but feel like they found a dead end. Sometimes the good works, and fervor, and headlong pursuit leave a weary back and burning lungs, and stinging eyes. For them it is faith that picks them back up. More cautious perhaps. If you are tired faith belongs to you. It assures you that your efforts have not been in vain but not indispensable either. That rest is inevitable and that someone bigger than you is at the helm while you are in the stern asleep.
Faith belongs to the uncertain. Those who wrestle with doubt. The certain have less need for faith. They have dogma. The uncertain genuinely envy the certain at times. The uncertain get tired of asking questions. Big questions. Why questions. Questions that have no tangible answers. But ultimately they develop a faith that is powerful in its persistent stance of hope and appreciation of otherness. Or they don’t. Either way, it is in the doubters that faith is pushed beyond the limits of rationality and has the potential to blossom into its purest form-the substance of things hoped for. If you are uncertain, faith belongs to you. It allows for possibility in the face of the impossible.
Faith belongs to the aged. Those who have seen twilight don’t have the illusion of prolonging the day. They don’t have the luxury of speaking lackadaisically or clinically about mortality. They have learned enough to recognize how little they really know. They have no message but the message of faith. If you are old faith belongs to you. It gives you wisdom born not of learning but of gritty living.
Faith belongs to the dying for they are passing to a place no living have ever seen. Oh, there are stories told by alleged visitors to the hereafter. Gushing anecdotes full of religious caricatures and conflicting theology. If the dying derive comfort from those stories it is because of faith created and nurtured deep in the crevices of their soul not in proof or empiricism. If you are dying faith belongs to you. It takes your hand and guides you into the unknown with the profound sense that you are going home.
Faith belongs to us. It is inclusive. It does not flourish in the mainstream. It takes root on the margins. It gathers strength among the poor, the lonely, the outcasts, the publicans. It sparks on the fringes not only of society but of our hearts as well. Where we-all of us-have pushed our shared experience of inadequacy and insignificance into the shadows. And when we have quieted our fear through achievement, or wealth, or power, or religion we lose our connection with ourselves.
But faith still speaks to us from the dark corners. It echoes off the walls we have built around our pain. Sometimes it whispers through the nagging dissatisfaction of our facade. Sometimes it yells through the familiar pain of someone else. Regardless it persistently calls us to face our brokenness, our weariness, our uncertainty, our death. And when we do-if we do-we may not find resolution. But we will find more honest joys. The joys of truly knowing oneself, of living in genuine community, and of touching others not with pity but with understanding.
For we are all broken. Blessed are we who mourn.
Faith belongs to us.