Sermon for Twelfth Pentecost -
Faith and Belief
By Vicar Julie A. Kelly -
Somedays belief may flag and falter- it may even fail completely. In the midst of this in fact, in spite of this, we can still have faith. Faith is action for our bodies when our hearts and minds may not be able to follow along in belief just yet. Faith moves us along until belief buoys and returns.
When we read Hebrews 11, this famous passage about the faith of our fathers and mothers, it can be overwhelming. Compared to their historic stories of faith, it is easy to think that we are not faithful enough, nor ever could be. How could we ever fill their shoes?
Still, I want to remind you it was NOT easy for them. They had to step out in faith that God would provide something far more wonderful for them, but not knowing what it would look like, unable to see the promised land, but unable to stay or return to their comfort place. They received God’s promises from afar and not one of the stories referenced in Hebrews 11 refers to going back to the old places. It wasn’t about the good old days and returning to them. Through their stories we learn who we are and how our faith is not tied to our place, to our job, or to our history as much as it is tied to our promise in God and God’s own chosen people. Our relationship with God is what identifies us as a people just as it did with Sarah and Abraham. And just as in any relationship, it is defined not just by sentiment or belief, but also by what we do or do not do. Our relationship and identity as people of God is not found in this church, not the street, the city, the land, or nation. We are not identified as Christian because we worship at Mount Olive with an amazing pipe organ or have a pink Jesus on our building. We are Christian because we belong to Christ and have declared it so in baptism, not by comparing ourselves to the Christian in front of us in the pew or the one who is not here.
Julie A. Kelly
Vicar - Mt. Olive Lutheran Church
Santa Monica, California
Faith and Belief
Sermon for Twelfth Pentecost
Written by Julie A. Kelly
August 7, 2016
Mt. Olive Lutheran, Santa Monica, California