It happens every four years. We get an extra day. Something about the equinox in that we get a fourth of a day and then we get to add them up to get the 29th. Cally’s teacher is using the event as an opportunity to teach fractions. So, Leap Year 2008 is here and our additional day has come and gone.
Driving around town today with Lori and our kids, I saw a sign that read “there are no unimportant days.” It got me to thinking that even though today was my “day off” that there are always things to do and challenges to overcome. It seems like every time I turn on the news I hear about increasing gas prices and more house foreclosures. The economy is a topic of conversation everywhere and we’re all wondering who is going to be the next president. I guess Leap Year gives us an additional day to talk about these things.
We’ve gotten into the Lenton season and there is a lot going on, which is the case no matter what time of year it is. But, I am doing what I can to be mindful of this time of year on the Christian calendar. There are alway distractions, and I can appreciate the struggle that many of us on going through spiritually and economically.
Last Wednesday night, I spoke to our church family about the importance of not only knowing what we believe but also knowing the value of “beholding.” Barbara Brown Taylor wrote about this concept in Leaving Church, as she mentioned the fatigue involved in constantly defending doctrinal stances. The Bible passages she gravitated toward started with the word “behold.” Her insights meant a lot to me, in the sense that there are times that I need to be still and soak in God’s presence. As a pastor, I carry the weight of attempting to explain and communicate biblical truths on a weekly if not daily basis. This can be a difficult process. I am gaining a greater appreciation of the Apostle Paul’s sentiment as he spoke to the church at Corinth. He came to them in “weakness, fear, and trembling” while focusing on “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:1-5).
There’s definitely a propositional component to the Christian faith. I’ve grown up in a climate that places a premium on doctrinal truths and at times this has resulted in disputes between fellow believers in Christ. There is a time to “take a stand” for one’s beliefs and contend for the faith. I also believe that we cannot discount the existential element of Christianity, for without it we have a stale and lifeless faith. Paul said “I am crucified with Christ. . .” and with this statement comes an affirmation of how an encounter with Christ changes a person from the inside out. Many people long for this kind of meaningful spirituality, and this is where the Holy Spirit comes in. Baptists must continue on this journey, balancing what we know and what we feel about our faith.
I’ll be reading the familiar passages about sin and suffering over these next several weeks. There will time to consider crucifixion and resurrection as well. I will praying to have more of those moments to “behold” the Christ of Christianity. It’s okay not to be able to explain every component of the faith. Without the mystery, all we have is another cold, meaningless belief system devoid of relationship with the Holy. It’s okay not to “feel” spiritual at times. We all struggle with spiritual warfare and the demons of discouragement.
Leap Day provided an additional 24 hours to reflect on our humanity and need for salvation. I hope it will be a catalyst to move closer to the cross and learn more about walking by faith “and not by sight.”