Bethlehem Connect August/September 2019 - Page 4

Faith & daily life At the heart of our faith is the belief that God meets us where we are in all the places and relationships in which we live, work, play and relate. We pray, support and encourage one another as we grow deeper in faith and learn to trust God with our whole lives. Some of us are new on the journey; others have been at it for a while. All of us can find inspiration and hope in the stories of our fellow travelers. FAITH & DAILY LIFE is featured with stories of God at work in YOUR life. A 'Year of Character Development' This fall in worship, we’ll begin a ‘Year of Character Development’ in which we’ll survey a wide range of biblical characters. We’ll ask, what is their story and how does it relate to ours? What truth does their story reveal about us and about God? Some of the stories might be familiar and others will be new. An understanding ingrained since Sunday school might be usurped by a new insight from a fresh telling. To get our curiosity juices flowing, we’ve begun to ask, Who is your favorite person from the Bible and why? Here’s a sample of responses. Which characters intrigue you? Beth Brusius Beth Brusius My favorite Bible character is David. First because he is one of the few characters that we see from youth to death. Second, because he was chosen and dearly beloved by God, even though God being fatherly, had to discipline David when he made some bad choices. Third, because David listened to God and wrote emotionally of their relationship in his beautifully, poetic psalms. The David story is inspirational and comforting because we see David as human with both good and bad qualities and God as always there for him no matter what! Carrie Bliss Carrie Bliss Luke the reporter/storyteller is my favorite. We don’t know much about him, but he wrote stories about Jesus and the early church. The stories he tells are for one person and for the whole world. Luke is the only one to tell us about Jesus’ birth, and it’s surrounded with song. Mary sings. Angels sing. Old people sing. Elizabeth and Zechariah, Simeon, and Anna sing. And we’re still singing those songs! Thanks be to God for Luke! Leif Bergerud Leif Bergerud 4 My favorite character in the Bible (besides Jesus) would be Abraham. Though the reasons are many, two passages from scripture form the cornerstones of why. First, “the call of Abraham” contained in the opening verses of Genesis 12 when, somehow, he has the existential courage and agility of faith to be able to respond to the jarring command to leave his homeland and all he knows to follow an invisible God. It’s an extraordinary moment by any measure and it continues to speak powerfully today. The second cornerstone is found just 10 chapters later, with the (near) sacrifice of Abraham’s long-awaited child, Isaac. The Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard published what is still the finest reckoning with this scriptural event in his Fear and Trembling (1843), but the wrestling with this text (and its implications for the character of God) continues anew in every generation, even if the unsettling questions the story evokes are papered over in most sermons. And the wrestling continues if only because life keeps posing the question(s) to us. Such was the case late in life for C.S. Lewis when, in a slim volume concerning the death of his wife (A Grief Observed) we read perhaps the most distilled version of this story’s haunting implications: “Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him.”