The following was published in The Gisborne Herald on Saturday 22 August 2009:

Faith. Have you ever wondered what it is?

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things unseen.”

Still confused? Well, perhaps the Gospel of Mark can tell us a little more.

Mark 2:1-12 tells the story of a paralysed man healed by Jesus.

The paralysed man had friends with faith. They had heard of Jesus. They knew that Jesus could do miracles. They believed this so much, that they were prepared to do anything to get to Jesus.

When they found Jesus, they couldn’t get near him because of the crowd. They climbed up on the roof, and hoisted their paralysed friend up with them. They tore off the roofing, clawed their way through their ceiling, and lowered their paralysed friend down in front of Jesus.

Jesus wasn’t offended by the way these friends had grabbed his attention. He didn’t even mention the damage they had caused to the house!

What he noticed most was their faith. They weren’t limited by the crowd, or the roof. Their faith was so strong that they were prepared to do anything to get to Jesus.

And Jesus did an amazing thing. He healed the paralysed man.

Imagine if the friends had been put off by the crowd. Imagine if they had looked at the roof and said “That’s too high”, and had given up. There would have been no miracle that day.

So what do these friends teach us about faith? They teach us that faith is more than just believing in Jesus. Faith is also putting that belief into action, no matter what obstacles we might face.

As James 2:26 says, “Faith without works is dead.”

And when we have that kind of faith, Jesus can do amazing things.

Walking the faith ain't easy, even if you are an Anglican priest. So I keep my family first, stay grateful, and try to live a little.