Sunday, February 25, 2018

"reckoned righteous"

Today's Hebrew Scripture lesson was the story of God promising Abram and Sari (he 90 and she barren) a son to found a great people--the children of Israel, the Hebrews, the Jews.

God also gave them new names--Abraham and Sarah--much more Jewish sounding. (We could get into a whole conversation about 'ethnicity' and why Ishmael, Abraham's son from Sarah's handmaiden was suddenly a different ethic group that Abraham--but we won't, that's much too complicated and probably of no interest to you...and of little interest to me.)

Then in the lesson from Romans, Paul says that Abraham's faith in God's promise was 'reckoned as righteous".

Back when I was a child in Appalachia, people still used 'reckoned' as a word. Probably still do.

"Want to go to the game tonight?"

"Reckon I do."

"Reckon you want to come up on the porch and sit a spell?"

"Reckon I do."

"Reckon" means, in Appalachian, "I think so" or "I guess that's right".

"Faith" reckoned as 'righteousness' has a lot to do with what I think about this whole religion thing.

"Righteousness" doesn't mean "living a blameless life"--it is a term of 'relationship'.

Driving through the South you'll see signs on barns that say, "Get Right With God". Though whoever wrote that wouldn't think I'm a Christian at all, they have a point.

"Faith" isn't just 'believing' thus and so, it is a term of 'relationship'. Abraham and Sarah were in a 'relationship' with God that made them 'trust His Word'. Trust, by the way, is another translation of pistos the word usually translated as 'faith'. I like 'trust' more than 'faith'.

I can trust you without putting all my faith and belief in you. And I can do that because of our 'relationship'.

In a relationship there is room for discussion and disagreement and then trust and agreement. Faith, it seems to me, is an absolute.

I like the wiggle room of  'relationship'--I like that it's a mutual thing while 'faith' is one-way.

So, I 'm more interested in having a 'relationship with God'--being 'right' with Him/Her/It, than I am in having 'faith' in God.

Just me talkin' and pondering, you know.

Not the truth by any means....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.