Listen to this article now
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
The article ‘Elpis’ (http://theagleswingfoundation.blogspot.com/2012/07/elpis.html) remains one of my favourites. I had no intention of writing a ‘Pistis’ version but the memory of yesterday leaves me nothing, but an aching finger to type the events and share it.
‘Elpis’ was a writing of hope; ‘Pistis’ however is a faith talk. Before I dive into the Greek myth of ‘Pistis’ allow me to share the inspiration to talk about faith. I had taught about Joseph, the biblical character to a small youth class in the morning, gone for a meeting all through the afternoon and had an insightful conversation about why men and women do some of the things they do sometimes. Not many inspirational droplets had jumped to me all through the day until I had the honour of being dashed a huge dose of inspiration by beholding the departure avenue of the Kotoka International Airport. Of course, departures in any form are as emotional as anyone could dream it. I was seeing off somebody I have grown to cherish and love. The kind of person I can be all I am with and still feel completely at home. I do not have many people in my life like this, so as the truth is, I do miss her. But it is in the memory that she will be away for a while that strikes the inspiration; the fact that she will always be with me until I see her again which hopefully will be soon. The use of hope borrows from ‘Elpis’ but the faith that she will always be with me is the ‘Pistis’ all humanity shares.
In Greek mythology, Pistis (Πίστις) was the personification of good faith, trust and reliability. The Greeks say, Pistis was one of the good spirits who escaped Pandora’s Box and fled back to heaven abandoning mankind. So although, Elpis was the only gift left, Pistis was in the box at a point. I have gained new insights to faith and these are:
- Confidence is an evidence of faith. The word confidence borrows from the Latin, ‘Confidere’ which is to have full trust and amply personifies ‘Fides’ the Roman equivalent of ‘Pisitis’. How often does humanity claims faith but with little confidence? Elpis is the having of the dream whiles as Pistis is the evidence of the things not seen. Confidence is not wavering; it is the expression of feeling of certainty. My first lesson on faith is summed up by the famous American author, Mark Twain. He says, “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” I like this quote first because it is humorous but importantly because it sums up what faith is, the fact that we may not know all the future holds and promises, yet the firm certainty that what we hope for will happen.
- Coming to faith is accumulating trust. Faith requires a significant level of trust. Humanity lives by trusting. Trusting vehicles, professionals, and entirely everything we use. The level of trust at any point in time is promoted by a judgment of competence. The judgment may be based on facts or gut. However the source of trust, trust remains specific with an expectation. We only exercise faith when we are satisfied by our judgment of competence although sometimes, the chosen option(s) appear the only available choice. However the circumstance surrounding what and who we trust, we build confidence only by trusting the competence of the trusted to deliver on the specific expectation.
- Faith is a prudent option. Preceding the second insight is the knowledge of why there is little faith and confidence by extension. Our culture has taught us very little about trust but I choose to learn from the reasoning of the notable French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher, Blaise Pascal. Pascal indicated of faith that it is a wise wager, and rightly so, it is! There will always be doubts, opinions and unknowns, faith however pursues with certainty to gain that which it wagers. Is it risky? Of course it is! But the truth remains that, ‘The heart has its reasons for which reason knows nothing’ (Pascal). Conviction in the heart is what must guide faith’s course.
I end with a reflection from Pauline’s thought from his popular love corridor (1 Cor. 13:13). In one breath, Paul indicates Elpis, and Pistis as two of the three most important things, he ices his thought nevertheless by saying, with all that Elpis and Pistis may be, they leads to LOVE, the greatest. Oh, my God! I am in Love …