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Dear Reader

I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

STRENGTH

This past weekend we were called to remember, to memorialize the
events of 9/11. In doing so we naturally are led to reflect on our
strength as a nation and a people. So too are we looking at the
strengths of our leaders, especially those running for office. What,
then, does faith have to say about strength? Faith turns the qualities
or character of strength upside down. In the Hebrew scriptures
strength is a blessing from God. 2Sm 2:9 “It is not by strength that
one prevails”. Strength comes from God not by muscle or weapons. Thus
strength is given to the weak, the wise, the just. There are 183
references to strength in the bible.

In the New Testament 2 Cor. 15: 9-10: “… “My grace is sufficient for
you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will
boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power
may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in
weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in
difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

How does this make sense before nuclear weapons, Atlas built men, or
unlimited wealth and power?

We know the common phase; a chain is only as strong as it weakest
link. Faith relies on weakness to be the proof of God’s strength. Is
40:29-31 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of
the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and
fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They
will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they
will walk and not be faint.”

The strength of a believer is proven by the reliance one has on God’s
power in times of greatest trial and weakness. The more impossible the
situation, circumstance or foe, the greater is the proof that it is
God who prevails and not the talent, might, or intelligence of the
individual.

The strength of our “one nation under God” is not in our profession of
faith, but in the acts of justice, mercy, discipline of force, our
treatment of the poor and the immigrant. How we take care of the most
vulnerable is the proof of our strength or weakness. How we as a
nation deal with nations less powerful than ourselves in promoting
justice is how we are thus judged. When we give into fear, act out of
greed and stray from our principles we fail and are defeated.


Those of us who make a claim of our faith as the foundation of our
core values and formation of our conscience and therefore what forms
our public and private life must take into account what is the nature
of our strength. How are we to use our energy to promote these values?
Words matter. If we promote bullying as a form of strength, we have to
consider this in light of our faith. If we get excited and inspired to
act by demeaning or bellicose language, we must seriously consider our
moral and spiritual foundations.

The sacred scriptures of all our religious traditions are rather
clear. Strength is reliance on God and treating the most vulnerable
among us with the greatest dignity and respect if not sacrificing
ourselves for their sake.

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