A non-fiction faith
December 1, 2012
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 [NRSV])
When my sons were in kindergarten, they learned the difference between fiction and non-fiction books. They now use those terms to ask us and others whether a story is real or not. Truth be told, I’m not looking forward to the day when the stories of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy will be filtered through those categories.
In a few days, we will be in the holy season of Advent. As Christians, we celebrate the real—the Deus absconditus (God hidden) is Deus revelatus (God revealed)—or in the words of John’s Gospel, “… the Word became flesh and lived among us.” The fictional entity of ancient Greek philosophy called the Logos has become real, true, flesh and blood, Jesus the Christ.
This is an opportune time for us to share in word and in works the compelling witness that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of the world, to express the non-fiction reality of the Gospel.
Here’s one non-fiction example:
I recently traveled to Osaka, Japan, on behalf of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to visit with our mission partners, specifically the Yodogawa Christian Hospital (YCH), the Japan Mission, and the Japan Mission Osaka Church. The YCH, regarded as one of the finest private hospitals in Japan, was founded fifty-seven years ago by Presbyterian missionaries with initial funding from the Presbyterian Women Birthday Offering. It has stayed true to its mission and ministry of “Whole Person Healing,” dedicated to serving in Christ’s love for the “total unity of body, mind, and soul.” True to form and content, the YCH holds daily worship in one of its three chapels in a country that is only 1 percent Christian. With the support of Her Majesty the Empress of Japan, the YCH established in Asia the first-ever hospice facility for children and their families.
The pioneering ministry of the YCH has touched many lives. Seventy-five-year-old Tsuenya Kameda, a former patient, attends the Japan Mission Osaka Church, a small worshiping community founded in partnership with YCH, which meets a block away from the old YCH building. Mr. Kameda will be baptized this December. Thanks be to God!
As we believe and confess that Jesus the Christ has come as fully God and fully human, God has redeemed the fullness of our humanity—“Whole Person Healing”—mind, body, and soul.
May this Advent and Christmas season be a time for us to share the Good News of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ in a non-fiction way—in word and in works—truly, really, faithfully.