In the Christian tradition faith is essential. We have faith that Jesus is Lord, faith that God is still creating, and faith that we have a place in the ongoing restoration of the world.
Faith is often considered more potent somehow if it is placed in something that is not seen. Sunday school lessons that teach us not to be a "Doubting Thomas" abound. Hebrews teaches us that "Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
Is faith diminished if it is born out of seeing?
I hope not, because it is in the seeing on this pilgrimage that I have new faith.
Faith that civil war and oppression do not have to be the dominant narrative.
Faith that the land can be a home for all.
Faith that strangers in a strange land can be reunited with loved ones.
Faith that God reigns in ways I never knew possible.
I believe in change. Things change no matter how hard we fight to hold on to what we have. Suffering comes when those in power fight the change that brings about the most good for the most people. New truth can be found in change if we are willing to see the possibilities.
Today we had the privilege of seeing many holy Buddhist sites. I found myself reflecting on all the change this country has seen throughout its rich history. Buddhist teacher Steve Hagen says in his book Buddhism: Plain and Simple that, "As we shall see, this desire to hold on, to somehow stop change in its tracks, is the greatest source of woe and horror and trouble in our lives."
This type of change can only come as each of us looks inside ourselves to see the ways in which we are holding on the stuff we should let go of.
Yesterday is over.
Never coming back.
And we can do nothing about it. But when it comes to tomorrow, we have all the say.
Will we choose peace? Will we work to see justice done for those who need it the most? Will we look inward first and let go of our desire to maintain?
I am full of questions about tomorrow.
But I have faith that tomorrow will be better than yesterday. We shall see...