LK 6: Jesus came down...and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from... Jerusalem, and (all over the area)." (Then read screen slide vs. 20-23)
We've spent three weeks (Sermons on website; See "Connect" drop down, select "Lake Edge Blog") on God's promise of Joy in our lives, because God wants us to thrive! Ah, but the trick is how we get a hold of that joy. One thing's for sure, it's not gonna fall down from heaven. We've gotta participate. Today, how faith play a part, plus a chance to talk back; your questions and comments.
But, let's go back to Dan Buettner's book, "Thrive," and some of the world's happiest places. Today, Mexico. Our neighbors to the south. The number nine happiest country. And faith is a big part of that happiness. We American's like to causally talk about faith. More than 80% of us believe in God. But after a few months of the pounding from life's demands, our faith can get shelved. Why is that? Equating church as the only place where faith can be experienced is one problem. Too many still make "going to church" and what happens here more important than the day by day learning to live it - being the church.
Another reason: Our United Church of Christ. Called the church of the refugees, by some. We're arguably a more heady and maddening bunch. By contrast, Mexicans are not. Many nations and religions have influenced Mexicans, still they remain a very indigenous people. Theirs is what we might call "a simple faith." But, don't confuse simple with ignorant. Mexicans are deeply-rooted in a belief system far more complex and deeply ingrained than ours. This explains their long history of faith healers. Like Jesus, some Mexican men and women are gifted with the ability to facilitate healing. Buettner visited one such girl, a teenager known as "La Niña." At the age of ten, she reportedly cured an old woman of her cancer simply through touch. Today at age 17, she sees thousands in her modest home. Buettner asked La Niña if she cures people? Her response? "No. (people are cured through) their own faith. I just help them find it."
Some of us skeptical, logical Americans would look at La Niña and scoff; pointing to the long history of quackery and phonies. Fair enough. There's been a few of those in Mexico. But, we can't just dismiss the historic presence of healers like La Niña (and before her El Niño). Why are there so many more cures in less developed democracies like Mexico? Could this be what Jesus was referring to when he told his follower they must have "faith like a child?" Perhaps Jesus' healing wasn't so miraculous? Perhaps, he helped people transcend the doubts blocking their own way? If so, might it mean Jesus' teaching the first disciples his "Way" would logically mean they, and we who follow, could also have the ability to offer inner healing and happiness today? Jesus did say, "The Way of God's within you." And promised "We'd do even greater things than He." He also said some cures "require prayer." Blessed are you.
On faith and happiness, one wise Mexican concludes, "You need to believe in something bigger than yourself, something that transcends you. This gives you hope, and that's part of happiness...If we live only for ourselves, we're not going to be happy."
Now, it's your time. What do you have to say about this, or anything else you've heard these past 4 weeks?
Some thing's to mention during talk-back: