Faithful

How ironic for me personally to resume my web log messages with a statement about being faithful. I started a few months ago to write a message each week based on a 1905 poem, which became for a time a popular hymn. The original poem, entitled I Would be True, consisted of three stanzas of four lines each. Each line promoted a specific character trait important to a Princeton divinity student by the name of Howard Arnold Walter.

I admired the poem because it seemed out of place in a Christian hymn book. Virtually all of the other compositions were about praise and adoration for an infinite being defined in many ways stemming from his role as the Maker of the Universe. Walter’s poem/hymn was about self and listed the twelve character traits he no doubt felt essential for a follower of Jesus as the reconciler of that Universe to its creator.

I thought it advantageous to write about this list of traits one at a time, keeping me on track with my hope of maintaining some discipline with my intention of writing daily. Twelve topics conveniently provided to me through this poem would take me through three months, establishing a firm habit of committing time and talent (the latter being quite limited) in compliance with that imagined discipline.

My mission failed, however. I have not posted anything since mid-January. That is a lapse of about the same number of weeks as I had faithfully followed through the first eight messages written and posted, most without any obvious clerical errors. Now here I am writing again, but faced with the bigger challenge of sounding credible about the subject of faithfulness.

Perhaps I should begin with the honest statement that I have little of it myself. The evidence at hand attests to that fact. Second, I should also admit that I admire others who possess this trait in the same way I admire people with artistic talents; musical, lyrical and visual.

Walter wrote, I would be faithful through each passing moment. It provides an interesting contrast to consider as faithfulness is portrayed as being steadfast, while the moments are persistently pictured as being transitory. The implication is that circumstances, like the moments, persistently change as well and the quality which best addresses the good and the bad residing in those circumstances are best met with a faithful attitude. The resolve is not to change in character even when circumstances dictate that we change in the malleable aspects of our determination to be. It is an adjustment in our short-term tactics while remaining faithful to our long-term strategic purpose.

In these trying times, keep the faith. These are but our passing moments from which we should aspire to emerge faithful.

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