Faith, Community and Christmas

Peace of Eden Series no. 21

What is faith? Trust? Ignorance? According to Hebrews in the Bible, men of old gained approval by it. If we don’t have it we are warned that we will shrink back to self-destruction, other-hurting, earth-devouring, unloving actions. Faith in what? In who? How do we get faith?

Faith is like an elephantine tusk linking past and present, as well as stretching into the future. Old bones pregnant with wisdom and perseverance.
By faith we believe beyond that which we can see, to immerse ourselves in transcendent, spiritual processes we cannot see.
By faith we engage in a journey believing in the end results.
By faith we believe in life-transforming love.
By faith we believe in a Creator of abundant life forces of many colors reflected in the Swartberg mountains, red stone hills, Cango Cave dusky depths and Meerkat Magic sunsets.

In Nature we experience invisible Creator characteristics in visible ways, for example unconditional love when, for no entitled reason, you are accepted by the inhabitants of a wilderness space; or when you experience Creator-designed cycles of life and death as you observe Predators eating their Prey, or wild Meerkat-diggers transform lifeless stretches of decimated Klein Karoo earth into areas of new life and plant productivity. When wild Meerkats ‘sun’ you see contentment, when springbok snort you see fear, when ostrich males boom their mating call you see desire…what you see is what you get, tried and tested over time…so you too, in that space, slowed down and contemplative, can be more authentic and honest with yourself, you can meet with the Creator of faith and be more faithful to yourself.

By faith Noah built an ark even though there was not a cloud in the sky. What processes of life and love do you need to have faith in – the assurance of outcomes not yet seen or felt or touched or heard? What caves of inner conviction do you need to dig deep into for a longed for healing or happening to take place?

In the Meerkat Magic Valley it is the breeding season amongst the Ungulungu family of wild Meerkats. Tzebokolodi, an adult female has been ousted by the dominant female who is pregnant, because she is a threat. In wild Meerkat families only the dominant pair, under natural circumstances bond and reproduce for life. If other females become pregnant the group cannot protect and provide for both sets of pups. I watched the isolation of this lone meerkat, Tzebokolodi, as she struggled to forage, be aware of predators and somehow follow her Ungulungu family at a safe distance until the dominant female, Jabulani, has given birth to her pups, and then she may be allowed to return to the family. In contrast the rest of the group forage in safety, play, sun and sleep together because they have each other. We need to have faith in the life process, that we like the community of wild Meerkats, also need each other.

Christmas is a time when families and friends celebrate together and nurture kinship bonds. It can be a time of change and renewed love. ‘ The meaning of Christmas is the birth of a new self, mothered by our humanness and fathered by God,’ says Marianne Williamson, author of Return to Love. I think this re-birthing life process, symbolized by the birth of Christ, is something also worth having faith in this Christmas.