A few weeks ago I preached a sermon about the challenge of being a complete follower of God. We are to use our heads, I said, and understand the truth that has been revealed to us. We are to use our hearts, I went on, and accept this good news while incorporating it into the very core of our being. And finally, I said that we are to have that faith – known by our minds, warming our innards – flow out of us in good deeds and acts of kindness.
All very true, and people said nice things to me after the worship service was completed.
But I’ve been thinking more about that sermon. When we talk about faith, about the Lord, about our understanding of the present and our hope for the future, we speak with earnest certainty. Christianity makes sense to us. The logic of salvation is compelling. The debt of sin weighs heavily, but Christ has paid the price on our behalf. We are guilty of violating God’s just laws, but judgement is satisfied through Jesus’ redeeming sacrifice.
I can’t help but wonder… What would it sound like if we spoke from our hearts as much as from our heads? If we didn’t frame our words most often in the cadence of lawyers and explain our faith in spreadsheet-style of accountants but just as commonly expressed ourselves with the lilt and colour and imagery of poets and artists and mystics? If we were not so focused on crossing every doctrinal “t” and dotting every dogmatic “i”, but gave room for expressions of the mystery and the majesty of God’s grace with hearts that yearn for peace and transformation?
Those who know me will affirm that I, and our tradition, place a high value on theological precision. We want to know and speak the truth clearly and accurately. Our confessional formulations are careful and thorough. But now, I believe, we all must add more warmth and beauty to the formulations of faith. Heads and hearts working together in faith will result in hands more vibrantly participating in the world as followers of Christ.
Poets, recite your verses! Artists, reveal the beauty of creation! Mystics, help us dream and see visions of eternity! And together, let’s bless the world in the name of the Lord.