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Quantifying Faith


The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strenghthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they sall walk and not faint.

— Isaiah 40:28b-31

1.35%. Percentages are only helpful when they're shared in context. For a car loan, 1.35% would be desirable. For IRA earnings, you might be considering switching to a different financial institution if your return is 1.35%. Percentages can also give us perspective. 1.35% of today's average life expectancy for Americans is 1 year and 23 days. 1.35% of the largest Powerball lottery jackpot in history would be worth over $21 million. Percentagaes are neither good nor bad; their value or desirability is something that we, as humans, ascribe to them. Our interpretation gives them meaning.

But, percentages don't apply to everything in life. Some things simply cannot be quantified or valued based on a scale from 0-100. Emotions, for example, are a human experience far beyond numerical definition. It's not possible to share 1.35% of your love with someone else. And what about wisdom, integrity, resolve, creativity, respect, bravery, and so on? We dont' speak in percentages when it comes to these characteristics. These are ived and modeled in one's life, not to be quantified by others, but rather to make an authentic difference in the world.

Faith is certainly not something that can be quantified. God is certainly not something that can be quantified. We believe in an everlasting God, without beginning and without end. We believe in grace so deep and so wide that there are no bounds. God's understanding is unsearchable, so vast and yet so personal that our minds cannot fully understand. But, the gift of faith is for us, the gift of grace is for us, and the gift of God's understanding is for us. God is forever with us. God is, and always has been, and always well be, more than 100%.

Throughout our 74 years as a congregation, God has been more than 100% involved in our lives of faith. God has been more than 100% present among the generations who have worshipped and received the sacraments in this place. God has been more than 100% in tune with our joys as well as our grieving. And God will always continue to be more than 100% after our time in this early life has concluded.

At this first anniversary of our partnership in mission and ministry, my time with you represents 1.35% of ALC's history. But this too, I believe, cannot be quantified. I have been bleesed beyond measure this past year to serve as your pastor, and I look forward to the the time to come as we continue serving our immeasurable God together. Thank you for being the gift to this world God crerated you to be.

God bless,

Pastor Nathan