Romans 10:10 - If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved - (NRSV)
There is a scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that has made faith real for several people in the way it portrays faith. If you’ve seen the film, you probably know what I am describing. Indiana Jones is at the end of one cave passageway, with what appears to be a wide and deep chasm lying before him and an opening on the other side. He has a guidebook that tells him he should expect to see only a chasm, but keep walking anyway. It’s clear to him and to us, viewing it from his perspective, that there is no way to jump this chasm, and that what we are seeing is indeed a chasm. He must decide, in that moment, whether to trust what his eyes and brain are telling him, or what the ancient guidebook tells him. He chooses the latter, and makes it across. Only as he walks are we given another camera angle that clearly shows a stone bridge, patterned on the top (Indiana’s angle) to appear to blend perfectly into the rock face below and around it, and so be invisible.
In the guidebook, this is referred to as a “leap of faith.” Faith as Paul describes it is real, palpable. It is near us, it is in our hearts and on our lips. We confess Jesus is Lord, and our values are centered on his resurrection which in turn promises our own. Even when the image given to us by culture or other powers around us is that chasm of death: We step out.
And each of us, individually, is called and will be empowered to take this step. Unlike much of the New Testament, the pronouns are second person singular here. The faith you are invited to exercise, the step you are invited and will be empowered to take, is yours, personally. It’s about your own confession with your own mouth, and your own allegiance to Jesus and the mystery of the Triune God through whom resurrection was and is made known. It’s right there. Right in front of you, right now. Have you taken the step in the past? Do you take the step now?
Once you’ve taken it, Paul reminds you and me immediately, there’s one more thing for each of us to do and keep doing: proclaim the good news of the One whose spoken word we have heard and for whom we took and keep taking the step.
So, step out, keep stepping out, in allegiance to Jesus as Lord and the Triune God’s gift and sign of resurrection as pledge of the renewal of all things, including you and me.
And based on that same allegiance, that same faith, proclaim the good news of this salvation — this very real, palpable, earth-and-cosmos transforming salvation — so those to whom you proclaim it will know, and even feel, how near it is to them, too… when you invite them to take that step for themselves.
Rev. George E. Odell is Lead Pastor, Clinton-First United Methodist Church