When I was around 13 years old, I remember a friend from church saying something like, “You might be the only bible someone ever reads.” We were talking about how we live out our faith and how we reflect our beliefs in the world through the way we live. It stayed with me. It didn’t necessarily inspire me to read the Bible daily, or memorize a bunch of verses, but it did inspire me to take what I learned and read and live it out in a real way. I didn’t realize it then, but this was my first step in understanding incarnation. This was my first reckoning with embodiment.
This was how I grew in faith, not understanding it as something to be proven with the right words or as an assessment of my personal worth; rather, as something to be practiced and lived out with others. My faith is what allows me to live with others, even those I disagree with or see differently from. My faith is what allows me to find common ground with others of different religions and different backgrounds. My faith is what leads me to see their worth as beloved and created by God. My faith is what allows me to see the truth of God within them, even when we seem so different and come from totally different places.
Right now, it is too easy to create for ourselves echo chambers, to surround ourselves with those who are just like us and think just like us. Right now, these echo chambers are an easy escape and barrier from those things of our world that seem different, scary, or don’t make sense to us. However easy it is to step into an echo chamber, whatever immediate relief it may bring us, it will not in fact help us. The longer we remain in our echo chambers, the less likely we are to consider what we are reflecting in the world. Our reflection only reflects itself, turning in again and again, constantly bent toward itself until it is lost to itself. These echo chambers end up leaving us feeling more alone than ever. These echo chambers shut out the diversity and creativity of God’s good creation, muddying it into a gaping black hole from which no light or life can escape. When that happens, how are we reflecting the hope of the Gospel? How are we actually able to live out the faith we profess?
Faith is not easy. Faith does not promise us simple answers, everything we want, or everything to go our way. Faith does lead us to reflect the love of God in the world, no matter how difficult the situation or relationship. So consider your reflection, the light of God that you live in the world. Notice how this light, in reflecting the hope of Christ side by side with our neighbors, can transform from a disparate individual stream to the glory of the rainbow. We become the living, eternal reminder of God’s covenant with all of creation. We reflect and live in love, together.