Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1 (NRSV)
Boston, early May. It was struggling to reach 45 degrees. The sun was pale, the buds on the dogwoods unconvincing, the wind cold and sharp off the water. It was spring by the calendar, but a winter jacket wouldn’t have been out of place. Hardly weather for tees and shorts.
Yet two young men were ambling along the sidewalk ahead of me dressed precisely in tees and shorts. They’d arisen that morning and donned attire appropriate for a beach day. On purpose, despite shivering evidence to the contrary.
They looked a bit ridiculous, but for some reason they’d decided to live by the calendar, not the conditions, to conduct themselves according to things unseen, to make a profession of faith. Watching them stroll along so lightly attired, I felt unaccountably glad.
Jesus’ first disciples claimed, after his death, to have seen the Lord. We who came later have not, but we believe all the same. We rise every morning sure that it’s spring, no matter the season. We go out in the nastiest of weather wearing only alleluias, conducting ourselves by the Word, not the conditions.
Ever since faith graced us, it’s been our mission to look a bit ridiculous. To trust in things unfelt and live by things unseen. To don hope’s inappropriate attire in a world hunkered down in stubborn frost. To know and declare, despite evidence to the contrary, that every unconvincing bud encloses Paradise.
Christ of Good Hope, increase our trust in things hoped for, our faith in things unseen. May we always be a bit ridiculous like you, O Spring of the world’s winter, O Warmth of its frozen dreams.
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.