This week's scripture:
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10-18
  • Psalm 27: 1, 4-9
 “Oh ye of little faith!”  It now must be 70+ years since I heard the booming voice of the eloquent preacher admonishing our errant ways. Over and over he repeated those powerful words as he drove home his sermon to stoic church members in the old oaken pews. As a small child I did not grasp much detail from his mighty sermon, but, even now, those words, “Oh ye of little faith!” are an indelible part of my memory. They continue to rebuke me whenever I fail to put my trust in God. 

During my youth the image of God, as my refuge and strength, sustained me. It was later as an adult through hardship and loss that my faith was really challenged. “It’s easy enough to be pleasant when life goes by like a song,” states the verse from my childhood. And our gratitude flows freely, for example, when church coffers are full and programs flourish. It’s when the road gets rocky and life takes a literal nose dive, we find it hard to put our trust in God. Do we unite in faithfulness or do we split over what kind of communion bread is served? Do we argue about the refrain sung to close our Sunday service or whether to make a financial pledge? Oh how very often I have fallen short and hear the words of that old preacher admonishing my failure.

From the Lectionary:
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.
For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters.
What I mean is that each of you says, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ."
1:13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Over the decades I have come to see my many moves across the nation from California to Maryland and Pennsylvania and states in between, as well as the two years teaching in Germany, as a blessing. Oh yes, a blessing because it forced me to accept many cultures, many different churches and many unique ways of expressing faith. That is not to say I didn’t frequently struggle with these huge changes, but it forced me to “embrace the mystery of God” as read in our mission statement. It helped me learn to love “the other,” my neighbor.

Recently, I listened to Brene’ Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, preach at Washington National Cathedral on love and connection. We have become a nation of bunkers, she mourned, where everyone in our social group, our school, our church, etc., etc. are carbon copies of us. They think like us, dress like us, believe like us and marginalize “the other.” When things don’t go just as we’ve planned, we replace hope and trust with fear and judgment. We act out in violent, non-peace making ways. And again I hear that voice: “Oh ye of little faith” admonishing me to put my hope and trust in God instead of tuning out God’s steady voice urging me to respond to the higher calling.

From the Lectionary:
Psalm 27: 1, 4-9
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

This beautiful passage from the Psalms reminds us God is for us, never gives up on us and continues to bless us. Throughout the Bible God repeatedly urges us to “Fear Not!” Stephen Ministry training stresses the importance of shutting out daily noise and fear so that we are able to quietly listen. Learning to truly listen with love and empathy, without judgment, helped me become more fully aware that God is still speaking. I am not meant to be the fixer, thank God!    I am called by faith to put my trust in God that I may be strengthened for the challenges ahead and empowered to demonstrate God’s love through my daily actions. I pray that it will be so.
Today's Prayer
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13