The road of Faith isn't always smooth sailing. Wait, what? That didn't make any sense. You don't sail on roads. Well, not normally, anyway. But you know what I mean. That reminds me of an Irish blessing:
If God sends you down a stony path, may he give you strong shoes.
Our individual walks of faith aren't always easy, and many of us have veered off the path or met one obstacle or another along the way.
I see people walk out of our place of worship and leave God there. They carry on with their lives, their perceived responsibility to their faith fulfilled. They return to worship when nothing else gets in the way.
I see others walk out the door, hand in hand with faith, only to have their good intentions fall to the wayside as the week progresses. They return to be filled with faith once again to tackle another week living closer to God.
Then there are those who carry God in their hearts and their works throughout the week, returning again to worship because it is the right and good and holy thing to do.
I'm sure there are others as well - those who go, but don't believe; those who aren't sure what they believe; those who feel obligated to go.
I recognize these people because at one point or another, I've been every one of them. My faith journey has been a rocky one, my understanding of what faith and worship are have evolved over time and through interaction with others of all faiths. I have stumbled many times, fallen a few. Each time it was not by my power alone that I regained my footing and got back on my path.
I strive to be like those who embody faith. Who exude love and grace and mercy and move through their lives as wonderful faith examples. Who come to worship because it's as natural as breathing. Who help and serve others because that's what it means to live. Who with each footstep, each word, and each action live Love; live the Word; while at the same time not losing their uniqueness, their selves, or their perspective. Who are human and make mistakes and ask forgiveness and see others' weaknesses as a chance for compassion and their own as an opportunity for growth.
May God grant us all strong shoes as we travel down the often stony path of life hand in hand with faith.