August 7, 2022
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost:
First Reading: Isaiah 1:1,10-20
Second Reading: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Gospel: Luke 12:32-40
Grant to us, Lord, we pray the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
Not Being Afraid and Having Faith Go Hand in Hand
“Now Faith is the Assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
By faith, our ancestors received….by faith we understand…by faith Abraham obeyed by faith he stayed and by faith he received.
The word faith is front and center throughout our epistle reading.
And near the end of the reading, it says… “All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance, they saw and greeted them.”
At least 400 years ago, the people followed what their ancestors were telling them. The only thing they had was their faith. They understood that their worlds were prepared by the word of God and that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
The letter to the Hebrew people, from what the scholars think, is they have written to people who perhaps are giving up, leaving the church, who are leaving the faith. These people have suffered and sacrificed a lot and they can’t see staying in it for they might feel, that things could be better somewhere else.
Gospel: Luke 12:32-40
Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
As priests, we listen and we hear and see the cares and joys of your life, we also hear the concerns you have. Listening is part of our vocation and there are highs and lows to what we do.
Fear can take over your life, emotionally you can feel alone and not know where or who to turn to. Fear is a natural, powerful, and human emotion and we all have fears and anxiety.
In the gospel, Jesus calls them little flocks, a community of people, he uses the metaphor of a shepherd, our shepherd, and do not fear or be afraid, he promises us the Kingdom of Heaven, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
In the Bible, God has given us numerous promises we can claim or hold on to during the seasons of doubt and fear.
We often fear that which we cannot change… and then, funny how we fear change. 😊
We are also reminded that He knows our hearts and our minds and that we are prone to worry, fear, and anxiety.
That is why He speaks to our fears and encourages us to surrender all our fears to Him.
Fear of things comes in all forms, sometimes the things we worry about, are solved or soon forgotten, meaning it wasn’t worth worrying about them at all. But there are true fears that are not something so easily forgotten.
Having to be afraid of something is not because you don’t have faith, you do have faith and knowing… to use the faith you have to overcome the fears.
Scriptures invite us to acknowledge the reality of fear while not allowing its presence to discourage us from our faith.
A great definition of courage is “the ability to persevere through all emotions.”
Faith, Faith, Faith, we have been given the courage fueled by faith, not the absence of fear but the ability to withstand it.
We from time to time, when faced with fear,
is to develop internal state of strength,
face or fears and redirect our focus,
and rest on the foundation of our faith that was given to us, by the Grace of God.
In the second reading today, the Hebrew people may have been thinking of leaving the church.
I say, stick to church and more people today should be flocking to church.
The church is a place where we practice and see our faith, our faith that relies on the promises of God and the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
Faith, helps us overcome and rebuild relationships. Faith helps us through incredible physical suffering and pain. Faith that we know when we ask God for forgiveness, we are forgiven and that faith can change our lives and others.
One of my sayings lately is that “I keep my knees bent, and my eyes looking up”
God is with us now and forever; we just need to not… be afraid and have faith.
The Rev. Lola Culbreath