A Word from our Family and Young Adult Minister 2014 September

This month’s article is by Minister Chai.

Dear Friends,
It was so exciting to explore various pathways to faith during ‘wacky’ August.

Ranging from one of the traditional pathways of knowing God through Scriptures to a non-traditional pathway of wrestling with God through Interplay, we have explored a spectrum of pathways. One particular pathway might have seemed more comfortable and dearer to you than others, and other people might have felt the same way with the pathways that you weren’t comfortable with. The fact of the matter is that there are multiple pathways to faith, and also that, one pathway is no better than the others. It could only be said that different pathways appeal to different people.

I don’t know which pathway it is that makes you feel most alive in God, but one thing I can say is that the pursuit of that pathway is essential for your spiritual journey. Certainly, there are time-tested pathways, e.g. meditation, which we might not have explored, that have helped our forebears to experience the divine. You can follow those pathways to faith as well. Although, it so happens at times that the time-tested pathways might not work for you; and you might need to discover your own pathway, or more accurately, pave your pathway. And how do you do that? More often than not, our pathways of faith are paved by travelling. It requires us to embark on a journey of faith or a spiritual journey. Starting a journey isn’t so easy though: uncertainty might be looming around us, we might not be sure of the details of the journey, our steps of faith might seem too tiny. If you haven’t started a journey of faith, my encouragement for you is: take those tiny steps of faith nonetheless, because that is your pathway to faith. More importantly, you alone can create that pathway.

On your pathway to faith, however, it is quite probable that you will run into other faith-seekers and followers of Jesus. They might be able to share their experiences of their own spiritual journeys, and they might even be able to give you a feel of the spiritual landscape; but, like maps, their accounts can only be helpful guidelines, they cannot replace your own journey of faith. Therefore, as the Psalmist says,

“Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalms 34:8), one needs to taste and see the goodness of God themselves. Those who have tasted and seen the goodness of God could say hundred and one things about the goodness of God, but those accounts fall short of one’s own experience of tasting and seeing that goodness of God.

Given the importance of our own experience in our journeys of faith, one might ask, “how do I have that experience of God?” The answer is simple: By being aware. All the pathways to faith that we have been exploring, and the personal pathways that I have been exhorting you to find, serve the purpose of making us aware of the divine, here and now – even in the midst of our daily lives, even under the worst circumstances that we could imagine, and even in the wake of the gravest tragedies in the world around us.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning puts this idea so beautifully in her epic poem/novel Aurora Leigh:

“Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only those who see take off their shoes. The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries, And daub their natural faces unaware…”

When we are aware of God in and around us, we cannot but love and serve God and our communities more passionately. May we all experience the presence of God and pursue our pathways to faith even more meaningfully.

– Chai