Faith as Meeting

Karl Barth writes that the “Christian faith is the meeting with this ‘Immanuel’, the meeting with Jesus Christ and in Him with the living Word of God.” In this encounter we are transformed. We experience grace and grace leads us to freedom. Freedom to follow God wholly, freedom to rely on God and not ourselves, freedom to lay down our worries, insecurities, and shortcomings at the feet of the One we meet. Faith is this continual cycle of meeting God, walking away, only to return a short while later. In each of these encounters, we are shaped by Christ. We walk away bearing a little more of his image and shining a little brighter with his light.

In the bible, we see many stories of people meeting God. Jacob. Moses. Elijah. The disciples. The travelers on the road to Emmaus. These experiences are faith at work. The meeting with God gives birth to a freedom that allows us to love God and actively pursue a life that resembles his. Faith is forged in encounters with God. I just hope we are awake enough to notice when we meet God. I think it was Jacob who said, “Surely God was in this place and I was not aware of it.” It’s easy to overlook when and where God may show up. May our eyes and ears be open to places where God meets us. I know we won’t leave unchanged.

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2 Responses to Faith as Meeting

  1. JLP says:

    Thanks for the Barth/Crawford insights. Here is a link to a blogger who is a ThD student at Duke (under Hauerwas!). He is currently taking a course with Hauerwas on Barth and has some very succinct and helpful reviews. You might want to check it out or contact this guy, he is really into church communities a well as New Testament.

    See you later duuuuude.

  2. mk says:

    Good post. Reminds me of a research paper I wrote in seminary on Barth (with I. John Hesselink who was actually a student of Barth’s and Brunner’s(!)). If memory serves me, it was entitled, “The Gift of a Meeting: Karl Barth on Faith” (and something about universalism and/or apokatstasis too, for good measure). Likely it was rubbish, but at least I must have been on track with the title!

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