Friday, February 2, 2007

The faith of a Child

When we were first married three years ago, my wife was interested in my religious beliefs because she had little or no knowledge about Christianity. Like most Russians, my wife was baptized, and so she was Russian Orthodox. Her mother and father brought her to the church to be grafted into Christ as is the custom in that country--my wife was baptized when the yoke of Communism was the ruling orthodoxy in Russia. After her Baptism, however, she barely ever darkened the steps of a church, which is another custom in Russia.

So, when she came to America she was very intrigued with my religious beliefs and practices; even in the North East, we are much more "churchly" than in Russia. She would ask questions and I would answer them as best I could. One day she asked "Why don't we pray before our meals?" I didn't have an answer, because the only reason I didn't pray was because I cared more about stuffing my face than with giving thanks to God for his gifts, with which I could sustain my body.

I felt embarrassed and we immediately started praying at every meal. How could I be so callous? I had a pretty good understanding of doctrine, of what was the "right teaching" or orthodoxy. I could answer questions, describe why the Lutheran teaching is actually what the Scriptures teach etc. But I had to be thought by my wife, who had little or no understanding of doctrine or right teaching at the time. All she had was a simple understanding that when someone gives you a gift, you should thank him for it. In this matter, she had the faith of a child and I had the faith of an intellectual, or, (gasp!) a scholastic theologian.

So now, we pray before and after every meal. And by doing so we teach our two year old son by our actions, and thus pass down what we received. So I want to thank God for my wife, who with a simple question helped me be a better disciple. But I also want to thank God for her parents, who presented her to the Lord for Baptism, which set in motion a train of events by which I could learn from my wife what it means to have the faith of a child.

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