The immensity of the Christian faith
If we are truly observant, we can see Jesus Christ acting in people’s lives locally and around the world! When we are attentive to the spiritual life, we will be awed at the sheer immensity of the Christian faith!
Here are just one day’s observations, as I start locally in Eagle River and then consider people’s Christian faith throughout the world:
In Eagle River traffic,
— I wave to Carolyn, a Community Covenant Church member. She strongly perseveres in her faith despite the loss of her husband Jim, to an asbestos disease. Jim Robison was a true ‘Laborer for Christ’ and a strong man of prayer!
At Jitters of Eagle River,
— A young man is reading Scripture over coffee.
— Ben, 19, tells me he’s traveling across Russia and will be in Church in St. Petersburg for Easter!
— Stasia, Wendy, and Reverend Gracie are discussing how Love INC can best serve Eagle River’s poor and needy neighbors.
— A group of people are discussing their Prison Ministry for the women at Hiland Correctional Center.
— Marco says he just got off his night shift on base, and now is writing his daily spiritual journal.
Driving to Anchorage, I recall:
— Pastor Emilio takes more than 50 Anchorage teens to Guatemala every Spring Break to build schools and teach the children for Projecto Fe!
— A 19-year-old Anchorage woman, Haylee, leads the “40 Days for Life” prayer vigil!
— My Anchorage friend courageously battles alcohol abuse with AA meetings. A true “Laborer for Christ,” Harry has 30-plus years of success, and also helps hundreds of other Alaskans in an Alaska Native sobriety film!
— My radio plays Johnny Cash’s powerful song, “Man in Black.”
— Literally hundreds of Christian priests and pastors labor in Anchorage — some for 40-plus years — such as Pastor Alonzo Patterson, Arch Bishop Hurley, Pastor Friendly, Pastor Benjamin, and Father Oleksa.
Elsewhere in Alaska:
People of Yupik heritage sing ‘Christ Is Risen’ as “Chreestoosak Ungoikhtuk!”
Juneau Pastor Dr. Walter Soboleff lived to be 102 and read Scripture for over 95 years!
People of Aleut heritage sing ‘Christ Is Risen’ as “Kristus Aq Ungwektaq!”
Around the World:
Poland’s Christian trade union leader Lech Walesa courageously stared down the Communist-regime and freed his nation!
Nigeria’s Christian people endured three church bombings on Christmas Day 2011, and now rebuild!
England’s C.S. Lewis still inspires millions of people with his deep Christian writings!
Russia’s Alexander Solzhenitsyn endured Soviet Gulag imprisonment with strong Christian faith and lived to see the fall of Communism. He also warned the West of the falsehood of materialism.
China’s Pastor Zhang R. is imprisoned by the Communist regime for the “crime of leading a Christian home church.” Ever positive, Pastor Zhang says “actually during prison I got to preach the Gospel to 5,000 prisoners who I was privileged to meet!”
America’s WWII POW veteran Lou Zamperini’s epic survival story is told in the current bestseller “Unbroken!” (You’ve got to read this book!!) With awesome Christian strength this veteran forgives his Japanese captors!
Finally, remember that these examples of extraordinary lives above just started with faith and small steps of doing the right thing!
Our Lord Jesus Christ simply asks us to “Love God and Love our Neighbors” — not necessarily become famous. With faith we can do that!
Love INC is an Eagle River Christian organization dedicated to loving our neighbors.
This column is the opinion of Kevin Dougherty, president of Love INC of Eagle River and a member of the Saint John Orthodox Cathedral in Chugiak.