Ordinary Time: Faith


This weekend’s conversation is all about faith.

With a broad swath of lectionary readings we are able to see what  faith is lived out like.

Here are our readings for this weekend:

  • 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; (David learns about Saul’s death)
  • Psalm 130; (psalm of the temple dedication)
  • 2 Cor 8:7-15; 2 Corinthians 8:7 (CEB)  7  Be the best in this work of grace in the same way that you are the best in everything, such as faith, speech, knowledge, total commitment, and the love we inspired in you.
    Mark 5:21-43 (jesus heals the woman bleeding for 12 years and the 12 year old who was dead

In the lectionary we see a few things that we learn about faith

1. Faith allows us to Pause to see the bigger picture

First we take a look at David and his ability to step back in a time of potential personal gain and mourn with his people because of the bigger picture.  He is mourning, and telling his people to mourn.  This is tragic. Period.  This loss is crushing. Period! And we don’t need to fill the silence with anything but our sorrow and hurt at this point.  To do anything else would trivialize or take away from the current events and dehumanize the fallen king and his son.

David knows that there are times (more than he would to admit) where it is not about him.  David knows there is a bigger picture at play than simply his personal advancement.  Faith is committing to God’s plan over our own.  In one of the commentaries I read this week was one written by Walter Breggeman where he talks about our hardship to mourn publicly and the need to come together through faith to see the larger picture: 

the prospect of public grief is a scarce practice in our society, where we are so engaged in self-deception, pretending that everything is “all right.” Underneath that propaganda, however, we are a deeply troubled community with a great deal of unprocessed public hurt. We have no easy way to process hurt, but this poem is a model. For obvious starters, we have yet to finish with the residue of racial hate left from the Civil War. We have scarcely faced the ghosts of anti-Semitism made visible in the Holocaust. We have not yet tapped the horror of Vietnam. We have yet to acknowledge that our long history of wars is not a set of triumphs but an endless process of “bow against fat,” of “sword into blood,” of death for the lovely and beloved. The earth, like Gilboa, stands deeply cursed. The voice of contemptuous Philistines mock in their outsider status. The purveyors of haughtiness on the inside only go on shopping and consuming and do not notice. This text is a noticing, and its noticing places hard questions before us. What permits one to notice the grief and loss of life around us? How can we break in on our muteness? How can we acknowledge the triumph of brutality in our self-deception? When shall we find words, and who dares sing of intimacy broken, of loss unspoken that must be spoken, of greatness overwhelmed by the savage power of death? David sings about the poignancy of human anguish. These questions may find their buoyant answer if we join the song of relentless, candid faith.

Brueggemann, Walter. First and Second Samuel: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Kindle Locations 4228-4238). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.

2. Faith Gives us grit

Looking at the larger picture we soon see that we are not just looking in a mirror for what is most important. Rather we see where our hope is and fix our gaze on that.  We can see this hop in action.  Through the woman in Mark 5.  She had been bleeding for years and then she saw Jesus.  She had faith, set her gaze on the source of her hope.  

Angela Duckworth, wrote a book entitled Grit.  There she looks at what makes people push through hard situations.  She developed a test and some indicators that would predict who would make it through West Point and those who will give up.  She has studied schools, and even spelling bee performance. It is grit and possibility and hope.  

You can check out her ted talk here 

“People with girt don’t see failure as a permanent condition.” –Angela Duckworth   

When i think about grit i think about Cindy Herring  Kathy Gull has made her mission field an entire county of schools rather than a single classroom! Mike Bettiker shares his faith with the people whose houses he works on. …Grit.  

The woman is healed and she doesn’t even say one word.  How awesome is that? That our faith can speak for itself.

Our Faith gives us grit to commit to God’s plan over our plan.

3. Faith gives us a chance to build for the kingdom

Finally we see that Faith gives us the courage to give our best.  In 2 Corinthians Paul is calling the people to “be the best in this work of grace,” just like in all of the other areas of their lives.  The BEST! I don’t know that we use that word too much without try in front of it.  But Paul calls us to be the best.  Followers of Jesus are to be the best and not pull punches.  

NT Wright in a podcast listened to spoke about  God being the master stone mason and we are apprentices building for the kingdom.  But when we stop and look back we can say “I helped make that,”  

Monday Moment-

Faith is committing to God’s plan over our plan.  What is God tugging at you to do.  Do it.  

A year from now don’t wish you begin today.