I walk by this retention basin every day. It’s the same big hole, the same dead grass, the same few scraggly trees. Why should I pay attention to it? And yet, on this day, and in this ONE perfect moment, and right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was greeted with an incomparable experience of beauty…… the perfect amount of water….perfect and complete stillness….not a ripple on the water’s surface…. perfect angle of sunlight….. perfect wispy white clouds in the clear blue sky… perfect reflection of trees and sky in the water.
Think about the word “feast.” Easter is coming and surely you have some memories of great dinners with family. A feast is enjoyable. It reminds us of plenty, of great abundance. It usually is accompanied by feelings of love and joy. So “feasting on faith” means that always, every moment of every day, you are feeling safe, loved, joyous, surrounded by plenty, satisfied. So how do you make this happen? How do you “feast on faith”? Especially in times of difficulty, times of challenge, times of pain, times of sorrow, times of fear?
My advice is both simple and enigmatic.
If you are troubled right now–and who is not— it is unlikely that you will simply in one instant turn your frown into a smile. But that is totally TRUE and it can be done because YOUR MIND is that powerful. Surely you remember at some point in your life when you were depressed and suddenly an old friend or family member popped in and your entire world, your entire mind, changed instantly. In that example, I gave credit to an outside force for changing your state of mind, but the truth here is that YOU viewed your wonderful guest with joy and that caused the instantaneous change in your mindset. So a total change from frown to smile can happen instantly.
For sake of argument, I will offer another view, and it is one we have already discussed. Let’s call it
“the one step at a time process for feasting on faith.”
- POWER TO CHOOSE: you have the power to choose your thoughts. You can think about happy things or sad things. You can change those thoughts as quickly as you can tune another station on TV.
- DAILY PRACTICE: Give yourself a few moments every day during during which you get still, go into a quiet place, and focus on “happy things.”
- ELIMINATE THE TRASH: throughout your day, be aware of how much trash you are consuming–broadcast news, internet chat rooms, and so on. Eliminate that stuff. Turn it off.
- SURROUND WITH JOY: Be conscious of those you spend time with , either in person, on the phone, or online. Consciously choose to be with joyous, cheerful people.
- SHARE YOUR OWN JOY: Once you begin to turn the corner away from trash, you will quickly see that you too can bring joy and light to others. Now you are really on your way to a FEAST!
Just begin a brief daily regimen of the “faith workout” I just described. You will be happy with the results and will soon be “feasting on faith.” And remember these words from the Sermon on the Mount…. Matthew 6:25-34
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. It that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
other photos courtesy of William Babin, private collection.