Faith. One of those words that we all know the meaning of perfectly well but find very difficult to define. In today’s Lectionary readings we have several references to faith: “the righteous live by their faith” Habakkuk 2:4, “I am reminded of your sincere faith” 2 Timothy 1:5, “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!'” Luke 17:5 (all references from the NRSV).
So what brings all of these references, and for that matter the readings, together? Not much, at least not at first glance. The OT lesson is about a terrible time where the is no reason to hope or anything apart from God. The Epistle lesson has Paul writing to Timothy reminding him of his mother and grandmother’s faith. The Gospel lesson has Jesus’ disciples asking another question that doesn’t really get them the answer they wanted, namely, how to get more faith.
The sermons, which again this week are significantly different while achieving the same end (at least so I hope), are about what faith might mean. Is it more than the trivial faith of our faith that the sun will rise tomorrow? Is faith more than what seems like magic, tossing trees into the sea? Where does faith come from and what does it do; what is it good for? Sure the righteous live by their faith but what does that mean? I am not going to guarantee that I have fully answered this question but I can promise you that we looked at the question and we are further down the road to understanding than we were.
Knox Presbyterian Faith. Not so easy.
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Faith. Not so easy.
PS There is a significant disparity in the length of the two sermons. If anyone has the time to listen to them both and let me know what you think about the difference, I will be very grateful.