High River United Church of High River, Alberta


Will Our Kids Have Faith?

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Will our kids have faith?

It is a question that I have been asked by both elders and parents. Will our kids have faith?


My answer: They already do!  Kids are natural at faith.  They catch the wonder, the mystery, the possibility, and the presence of God. They have theological insights that are deeply profound and challenging. They notice God in the world around them. They watch for and learn from the faith they see in the adults with which they have contact.  Children vibrate with the delight and compassion and mystery of God, and easily welcome it in their lives.


And so, maybe, the better question is, “Will our kids see faith living and growing in us?” Because, as our children grow, they take their cues from us.  They watch their elders to see how to live the faith they so naturally feel.  They notice how we are integrating faithful practices into our everyday living. They are learning from us how to take that natural faithful delight in the mystery of God’s presence and let it unfold into compassionate and generous living that joins God in the healing of the world.


Maybe, the first question is, “What is faith?”  Drawing on the work of Marcus Borg, faith can be defined in three ways that build on each other and go together:


1. Faith is faithfulness to our relationship with God.  Faith is devoting time, resources, energy, and priority so that our relationship with God can deepen and grow – just like any other relationship.


2. Faith is a radical trust in God that releases anxiety.  There is more than enough in our world today (and in previous generations) to cause anxiety and fear in our lives.  And the cynicism, materialism, and self-protectionism rampant in our society do nothing at all to help this anxiety. And then there is the stress of increased job demands, the general instability of society, violent acts, extreme weather, and the list goes on. It is no wonder that addictions are on the rise and becoming more deadly, as people of every age seek and escape from the overwhelming anxiety we face every day.  But we have an alternative – to trust in the One who says, I am with you always; the One who is there to wipe the tears from our eyes and bring calm to our spirits; the One who works with us for the healing of the world.  Talking to a friend always lessens anxiety; prayer and radical trust in God do so even more. Being part of a community of faith - people supporting one another is key.


3. Faith is choosing to see the good, the possibility, the wonder in the world.  Yes, it is easy to get drawn down into the doom and gloom.  Bad things happen in the world and even to us.  Faith is choosing to look for the good, choosing to notice the sacred, loving intention of God at work in the midst of tragedy and disaster.  It is there, if we make the practice of noticing.  And the practice of noticing what is good and life-giving and compassionate changes our lives.  We don’t succumb to grumpiness and cynicism. Instead, we enter each situation with hope and wonder – with God!


Often faith is talked about in terms of “beliefs.”  If I believe certain things, then I have faith.  The trouble with that is that there are people who say they believe all the right things, but this belief is not transformative in their lives.  They can believe these things, and do nothing that is generous or compassionate or healing in this world.  Seeing faith instead as relationship brings transformation.


So, will our children see faith in us?  Will they see us being faithful to our relationship with God and taking time for that relationship?  Will they see us placing radical trust in God and turning to God when we have anxiety and fears?  Will they notice that we choose to see the good in the world God created?  Will they see us offering unconditional love and compassionate generousity, to them and others?  Will they see faith transforming our lives? Will they see our faith bringing healing to the world? 


Faith, of course, is an ongoing relationship with God, which we continually deepen and grow.  We’ll mess up at times, and then, will our children see us turning to the unconditional love of God to support us as we make changes and allow our lives to be transformed?


Our children have faith!  They are watching and learning from us about how to grow in their faithful relationship with God, as together we work with God for the healing of our world.

 January 18, 2018                                  ©Susan Lukey 2018

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