Watching for the morning of August 11
The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost:
Proper 14 / Lectionary 19
Hope is not the thing with feathers; it is the confidence created by a promise spoken by one who is trustworthy.
Christian hope is something different than the hope your car will start on a bitter cold morning in Minnesota. It’s the confidence that it will start.
My confidence in the car, however, was rooted in the knowledge that it alone in the apartment parking lot had started at -30°. Our confidence in God is trust in a promise.
There is reason to trust the one in whom and for whom all things were created. There are evidences around us of God’s grace and favor. There is witness in the Biblical narrative. But it is different than the evidence about the cranking power of the battery in our little car. It is more like the trust we put in the promises at the altar when our beloved says “for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer.”
There is a profound leap of faith there, despite all evidences and even though God is more reliable than we are.
But such hope/confidence is not something we muster up from within. It is created by the promise itself. “Faith cometh by hearing.” Just as time spent with a beloved provides the opportunity for the words “I love you,” to be spoken and to work their magic within us. So the time spent in worship and prayer and scripture puts us in that place where the promise is spoken anew and it can work its work within us.
The promise of God creates trust – and God declares such trust the measure of righteousness. Such trust is the right relationship between God and ourselves. It is the relationship lost in Eden that God eternally seeks to recreate. It is the relationship in which all creation will sing the song of life and love.
The Prayer for August 11, 2013
you promised a wondrous inheritance to Abraham and his children
and called them to live trusting in your word.
Grant us confidence in your promises
and courage to live as children of your kingdom
The Texts for August 11, 2013
First Reading: Genesis 15:1-6
“And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.” – God renews the promise of a descendants to Abraham and his trust in God’s promise is recognized as righteousness.
Psalmody: Psalm 33:12-22
“Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,” – A hymn of praise at the providential care of God.
Second Reading: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Having completed Colossians, the lectionary takes up Hebrews, beginning with the great recital of those who put their trust in the promise of God (whose fulfillment we await with confident hope).
Gospel: Luke 12:32-40
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” – Continuing the conversation about wealth and putting our hope and trust in the promise of God’s dawning reign of grace and life.