By Bro Joseph Tiu
If prayer is the first expression of human spirituality, because of his/her innate inclination towards the Divine, then Faith is born through this expression of human nature.
Faith is both personal and communal. It is both experiential and intellectual (doctrinal). But nonetheless it depends on the person’s or the community’s unique identification and contextualization of the Divine. How a person or community relate to the Higher Power that is God.
As Christians, we have identified ourselves and the higher Power (Yahweh) through Jesus Christ; the Word of God, who is God that became of our flesh.
As a community of believers (with different denominations) our faith is in Christ and his teachings. Our faith is a faith that gives birth to our capacity to love, not that Love in its purest form came from faith, but rather our faith teaches us Christ’s definition of love; Not one of human definition and mechanism but of Christ’s.
Because the Love of God, through Christ came first and then the gift of faith.
And what does faith in Christ teaches? Is not the love of the other is an expression of a love for God? Is it not our behaviour and attitudes towards other people within or outside of our communities or social groups is a reflection of our relationship to God?
Sadly so many Christian Churches today who profess the same Trinitarian Faith, the same faith in the scriptures and the same faith in the loving God are the same people who perpetuate acts of violence, hatred, discrimination, inequality, violations of human rights, destruction of the natural world, corruption, terrorism and genocide.
The same so called Christian leaders and business tycoons of the world are the promoters of war, confusion, social disparity, and poverty, and modern-day slavery.
The same tongue who sing songs of praise to God are the same people who kill in the name of God because of intolerance, arrogance and fundamentalism.
True Christian faith compels a true believer towards justice for all people. It compels a true Christian towards peace and a respectful acceptance of human diversity. A true Christian faith founded in the love of Christ, moves true Christians to respect the beliefs and ideas that are different from his/hers. A true Christian is compelled by faith that he or she cannot continue to live in a $10 Million dollar estate while children are dying of hunger in Africa. A true Christian of faith cannot continue to hold public office, and himself decide to go to war irresponsibly; creating the same kind of terror to his/her perceived or actual enemies as well as to the innocents.
Faith without Justice is hypocrisy. And is this not what Jesus rejected during his time? Jesus rejected and detested the hypocrisy of his Jewish society and religious leaders of being overtly religious and yet doing things outside and in complete opposition to social justice. Too often he shouted “WOE to you Teachers of the Law, you hypocrites!” Too often he went out to touch and be among the marginalized sections of society; those that were considered second and third class citizens. And yet after 2000 years of Christian faith, majority of us who call ourselves Christians are nothing but an ABOMINATION to the name of Christ. Majority of the Christian world is a shame and a disgrace of the Apostles of Christ.
I hope as we look again towards this Holy week in remembrance of our FAITH, may we also be reminded of its call towards JUSTICE for all and that the central theme, the heart and soul of Christ’s teachings is nothing more and nothing less but LOVE.