by Rev. William Chiganos
Someone once asked me to preach on, "Why I believe in God". I thought
it would be an easy easy task. Ideas began to flash before
me...thoughts of theology, arguments I learned in defending existence
of God, and works I studied that affirmed my belief and faith.
then I realized I believed in God...long before theology became
important to me. I knew that it is necessary for me to breathe and that
without air I would die. I was nurtured in a home where simple prayers
were recited daily, icons were displayed throughout, the smell of
incense filled the air, and faith in action. I was taken to church and
that seemed right to me. I felt at home in my church and never
questioned my faith.
I love Christ and am grateful for the gift
of Grace enabling me to work out my salvation. I recalled that in an
American court, a person is presumed innocent until he is proven
guilty. So it is with my own belief in God. Instead of saying I will
not believe in God until his existence is proved, I will continue to
believe, until it is proven that there is no God.
The Bible does
not attempt to prove God's existence. The first words are: "IN THE
BEGINNING GOD"...and it goes on to give us a progressive revelation of
God. Some great Saints in the Bible had spectacular
conversions...Matthew, the tax collector, Zaccheus the tax collector of
Jericho, Mary the Harlot, and the Apostle Paul. Examples in our age
might include, Thomas Jefferson, a great intellectual whom many
describe as agnostic, whom I believe was a believer in God...C.S. Lewis
of recent times and many more.
For most of us God is just there.
We seldom give it a second thought. Some go away to school and we
become confused...we see the church and the faithful leading double
standards. We take note of inconsistencies that have nothing to do with
the belief in God. Pain and suffering cause us to ask painful questions
about God's love and we simply do not understand.
Most of us
cannot explain the composition of water, but we drink it. None of us
know what electricity is, but we use it. Who can understand the process
of love? Yet many have given their lives in sacrifice because they
loved. Though we cannot explain God, most of us agree with Christopher
Morley..."I had a thousand questions to ask God; but when I met him,
they all fled and didn't seem to matter." To say I believe in God means
more than just an intellectual assent to the existence of God. It means
to trust in Him and to commit our lives to His will. We trust in God
because we know our own weaknesses and inadequacies. As long as we feel
sufficient to ourselves we do not need God; we call upon our own god.
No person ever really discovers God until there is a felt need in his
life that only God can fill.
Until you need him. you won't have him.....
sometimes say it is our duty to go to church, and it is; but few go for
this reason. I would prefer that no one come to church just for a sense
of duty. A duty-bound Christian is not a committed soul. The ones who
come just from a sense of duty come to criticize. They won't sense the
presence of God.
When one sings in the liturgy, one senses the
voice that rings out of devotion and need and not a duty hymn. You have
expressed your belief in God in the Creed...there is much more to it
than that. When Peter confessed.."Lord Save Me", Jesus reached out His
hand and caught him. When you say I need you God, that is belief,
simply going through the motions of lighting candles and making token
gifts to the church is not belief . And the superstitious beliefs is
dangerous. Just making the cross three times, bowing like a robot,
belief is deeper than that.
The nominal Christians are in danger
of losing their salvation. Belief begins by knowing God. I hear a
person say, I believe in so and so...why because of an acquaintance.
God has revealed himself to us...there is a matter of struggling in
ourselves. Never know all of Him. Stand before the ocean, now carry me,
taste the salt, I know not the entire ocean.
The man who came to
Jesus....Lord, I know I have no faith, help me to believe...worship,
prayer, confession. and bible reading will enable us to meet and know
the God of whom we have said since childhood...I BELIEVE.
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