11/15 The 24th Sunday after Pentecost: Faith – Not fear

Since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. 1 Thess 5.11

 

Yesterday I watched as a turkey vulture, a seagull, a red hawk and several crows, all sailed and circled over the breezy sunny countryside – hardly flapping their wings at all, they floated, hovered and turned on the wind upholding them.  In our world gone mad and reveling in division, it was a beautiful and inspiring sight to see these very different birds in the same landscape at the same time, being birds – flying not clinging to a branch – lifted and soaring on a power beyond themselves.

Speaking to the Thessalonian Christians, Paul ever the encourager – speaks of faith to a people caught in a time of persecution and division.  In a world which feeds on doubt, fear and uncertainty – to speak of faith might seem naïve.  But as the Church – faith in Jesus and salvation – is our offering to a world in need of encouragement.  Faith is the only counter to the fear that is proclaimed by the world at every opportunity.   The story of the servants and the talents shows what happens when we live in fear and allow it to overtake our lives.   The man with only one talent – certainly understandably was afraid and fearful of losing what little he had.  But he never moved beyond the fear and ultimately lost everything.   In our lives fear may be our initial reaction to what is happening around us – but it need not be our final reaction.  And this is where faith comes in.  Fear has the power to paralyze but faith provides a great reserve of power and resource – the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Guide.   Great is God’s faithfulness and may our own faithfulness rise with the Spirit to share in His.

God of love, you pour out your Spirit in abundance on all those whom you call to serve you in Christ.  Grant us the faith, wisdom, and love to make use of all your gifts, small and great – to banish fear – and to serve the coming of your Kingdom, through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.