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Faith Is a Place

Have you ever noticed that just before a professional baseball player goes up to the plate—or right after a soccer star scores a goal or an NFL wide receiver scores a touchdown—frequently there seems to be an instantaneous religious revival accompanied by ritual expressions of faith? Apparently, neither the opposition pitcher, the goalie nor the defensive backs experience that same fervor or call to worship.

For many people, it seems that faith is something like a fire extinguisher or a portable defibrillator: It is an instrument that is utilized only in emergencies or in cases of extreme circumstances or threats.

However, I believe that faith is much more like a place to which individuals have permanently relocated. Perhaps you’ve known someone who lives in that place. They are not perfect nor are they fanatics who constantly bombard you with their piety and your own lack of righteousness. Whatever they do or say has the same sound and feel; it doesn’t jar or jolt, but rather softens and soothes.

Julia was suffering end-stage cancer. Even in her illness, she blessed everyone who came into her room. Hospital staff created excuses to visit her. After a couple of weeks, Julia’s primary physician came to tell her that the treatments were ineffective and they’d exhausted all alternatives.

She urged the anxious doctor to sit down and not to worry. She reassured him that she knew he’d done his best. Then Julia spent the next 10 minutes inquiring about the doctor, his family and his friends. She genuinely cared, and she couldn’t help herself even though she was dying. Julia lived in that faith place.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

May 8, 2008