Faith

Another Sunday morning has come and gone, and though the sermon I preached today was not all that great, I, at least, did finish writing it before I preached it (I was busy making corrections on it with a pencil until 5 minutes before I had to preach, however).  I think it “preached” better at the traditional service, where I actually got a few compliments on it.

The primary text I used was from Hebrews 11:1-3,8-16:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old–and Sarah herself was barren–because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them. (NRSV)

This is such a vivid passage of scripture, and I fear my presentation did not do it justice.  I tried to convey the need to persevere in faith even in the darkest times, even when our faith takes us to places we don’t want to go, and even if our faith seems to be in vain.  I also talked about the fact that faith requires action on the part of the one who has it.  But maybe I would have been better off just reading them a prayer and sitting down.

The following prayer is taken from the book Celtic Daily Prayer (See link below, and thanks to Sonja of the blog Calacirian and the Google Group No Fairy Dust Here for originally posting it here.  I used in the traditional service but not the modern/contemporary one.

Lord, You have always given
bread for the coming day’
and though I am poor,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always given
strength for the coming day;
and though I am weak,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always given
peace for the coming day;
and though anxious of heart,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always kept me safe in trials;
and now, tried as I am,
today, I believe.

Lord, You have always marked
the road for the coming day;
and though it may be hidden,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always lightened
this darkness of mine;
and though the night is here,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always spoken
when time was ripe;
and though You be silent now,
today I believe.

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