Keeping The Faith

I received a small, black Bible from my brother when I was 18. I always carried it with me since that time, way back when I decided to follow the way. I had it in the army and read it just before lights out each night, as was our custom. It became a close companion and a friend. A part of your kit that you couldn’t go without.  During my border duty I virtually read through the whole book, apart from a chapter or two of the Old Testament.

When I was young I was a bricklayer and hiked and travelled a lot, always carrying my small, black Bible along with me. I lived in East London and Port Elizabeth, and the book was still my closest companion. I tried several Churches in my youth, but eventually settled on the Catholic Church. I was accepted and did my Catholicism at the age of twenty-five. I had a close friend who was a priest at the time, and we had many good times together. I even stayed at the Catholic Seminary in Oudtshoorn for a while when I was young.

As I grew older I still had the old Bible with me, though its pages were all worn, but passed it on at one point in time to someone else. Recently I got a brand new copy of that exact same Bible from a charity shop, and put it back in my cupboard. It was always an anchor for me in the stormy waters of life, as it still is. Lately I have become more of a believer of ‘God as I understand Him’, or religious tolerance; especially as far as Christian groups and denominations are concerned. A house divided against itself must surely come to a fall. Unity is not only strength; it is a common purpose.

My most valuable lesson from this book has been to do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. Church groups should focus less on rules and dogma, and more on the central message of the Bible; “…love your neighbour as you love yourself.”

This book and its message has carried me for more than twenty-five years, let’s hope that it will carry me a few years more… 

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In the Gospels, in Matthew Chapter Fourteen, one finds the account of Jesus walking on the water. When Peter joined him in this feat, he soon lost hope and began to sink away in the water. With the aid of Jesus’ faith he was then restored to his position atop the water.

The above illustrates in a proverbial sense that faith is the basic psychological building blocks of life. Without it one looses hope in difficult circumstances and founders. With it one can surmount the difficulties and obstacles one faces in your life. One gets faith in abstract entities such as an omnipotent God, or more conventional faith which entails faith in oneself, one’s fellow man, and goodness of life in general.

People believe what they believe, because they need to. If a flower is not watered, it withers away and dies…