Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sermon 6th October: the Seeds of Faith, Trust & Love

Psalm 37: 3-9
Luke 17: 5-10  

Another week; another parable! And another enigmatic answer to a seemingly simple request.
And, it seemed to me as I read and prepared, question after question was raised

But before we get to that let’s just take a look at the Psalm… psalm 37, if you look at its ‘title’ in our church bible it says “The Destiny of the Wicked and of the Good”
Very forceful! It is also very important to remember that those titles, and the little paragraph headers in your bible are NOT part of the text; they have simply been put there by the compilers to aid understanding, or point you in a particular direction. And if you were to compare it with other translations you will find different headers and different places for the headers.

Now, if we had picked up that psalm without a header attached, what would we have thought it was about?
The few verses we read are all about what happens when we trust God; wait for God and keep the faith.
A simple premise
Trust in him, and he will help you” (v.5b)

One of the reasons I wanted to point you to the psalm is as a reminder to us all that these were days of memory learning; of knowing scriptures; no access to a bible in your pocket, or nowadays on your phone or tablet (lol!!!) scripture was known and studied and loved. So that even the couthy Galileans who followed Jesus knew what scripture said on such things.
 The disciples have just heard Jesus say that they must forgive; over and over – seven times in one day if necessary. And this seems such a tall order; such a difficult task that they ask, “Give us greater faith”

As if having an endless supply of faith would mean that they could do everything and anything.
What do you think they were asking for? Do you think they really knew?

Forgiveness is difficult.
Mind you, admitting you’re wrong and saying sorry and asking for forgiveness isn’t exactly easy either!!
Jesus doesn’t answer the request (of course) nor does he suggest how they could make things better, instead he tells them that they could do astonishing things if they had as much faith as a mustard seed.
A tiny wee dot.
If they had a dot of faith they could uproot trees and move them by will.

But faith doesn’t come as a measurable thing; you can’t weight it; or measure it; or quantify it. Faith isn’t even a conscious thing necessarily. I think it can creep up on you when you are least expecting it; surprise you; influence the way you live and the way you behave.
And there’s the connection suddenly to the master/ servant relationship, which on first reading seems so incongruous. But is actually the nub of what Jesus was trying to get them to understand.

Make our faith greater
A tiny dot of faith will enable great things
A slave doesn’t need thanks for doing his duty
The slave/ servant expects to work all day and wait on the master before he gets his own food and rest. It is just as things are, his bounden duty.

We are servants of God; when we accept that then a whole series of other things come into play too.
We are duty bound to follow God’s commandments, to obey and therefore we are bound to live lives of faith.

Remember the psalm?
Trust in God; wait patiently for God and he will help you.

The commandments can be summed up in one simple phrase: Love God Love Others Love Yourself.
If we do that, we are living lives of faith
For as soon as we let love into our lives lots of other things follow
Love leads to

3 Trust in the Lord and do good; live in the land and be safe.
4 Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desire.
5 Give yourself to the Lord; trust in him, and he will help you; (Psalm 37)

And do you know what is even better than that?!
Each one of those really is like a seed: plant love in your life and it grows; nurture a forgiving spirit and it grows; and then more and more good things can creep in: acceptance and trust and kindness all growing out of that tiny seed of faith.

I didn’t plant faith in that list
Because it is faith that enables all those things
It was there all the time; even before you knew it; even before you recognised it.
How much is enough faith?
It doesn’t really matter how you answer that.
Enough faith is enough
It doesn’t need to be measured or weighed – it simply is.

Love God, Love Others, Love Yourself: live a faithful life. 

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading that on my "tablet", thank you. I liked the image of faith creeping up on us when we least expect. It's like the grace of love being shown to us when we least deserve. :-)