Thursday, September 29, 2016

What is faith? Luke 17:5-10 Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4

Jesus friends asked him for faith and more of it. My own prayers echo their words. I can't count all my requests for faith--for help believing. Jesus knew faith mattered more than his followers can imagine. His words must have left their heads spinning.

If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke 17:6 NRSV
What Jesus said--about the power of a seed sized faith--reveals the truth of God's kingdom. It's so close to us. With a little faith we can see God moving in our world in many and wonderful ways. With just a little faith Jesus says we will see amazing things happen. There's great power in faith. And Jesus invites us to find the power not with senses--but with faith.

The ancient Prophet Habakkuk groaned in his prayers. He wanted to see God move--He could name all the evil inhe world. He groaned to God about the violence and the danger. And God's response was to tell him boldly -- the rightreous live by faith. We want hard evidence and certainty. And the invitation that we have from God is to step out in faith.

Every August, right before the school year starts, I meet with every 7th grader at Grace. I sit down with each student and a parent to visit about what we do together in confirmation. At the end of our time together I give each of the the kids a mustard seed. I tell them about the three ways Jesus speaks of a mustard seed sized bit of faith:
  • moving bushes (Luke 13:19)
  • moving mountains(Matthew 17:20)
  • as the starting point of God's kingdom (Matthew 13:31, Mark 4:31, Luke 13:19).
Faith is a great mystery for me--but for Jesus it seems so simple: faith sees past the visible into the future that God is preparing. What Jesus has to say about mustard seed sized faith opens up the mystery of faith like a flag unfurling. By faith we trust in the power of God to do even more. Think about how it's best to talk about faith in the light of Jesus' mustard seed parables--
  • is faith action?
  • is faith a thing to hold onto?
  • is faith a gift?
  • is it something that comes from work?
It's, no doubt, a great gift of the Holy Spirit. But when and how the spirit moves--that's the part of faith that's the greatest joy. God's on the move and faith helps me trust even when I can't see God present to know without seeing that God at work.

Peace, and thanks for reading.

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