When my friend and I finished a several-day hike on the Appalachian Trail, we were many miles from the nearest town. My father was to pick us up in the parking lot between 4 and 5:00 that afternoon. We finished at 5:00, but my father was not there. It was a dreary, rainy, cold day; it was getting dark and we were without shelter. After we had waited a while with no one else around, my friend got anxious: “He’s forgotten. We’re gonna be stuck here overnight!”
I knew my father would not forget. It seemed like a long time, but it was actually only a few minutes until he finally arrived. He’d had a flat tire a few miles before reaching us.
I had felt some relief but also confirmation. My father did not forget us. I felt that trust in my bones.
Faith is simple trust, as small as a mustard seed, and yet so very powerful. It enables us to relax, release worry, and know deep in our bones that God will not forget us, that we are loved unconditionally just as we are, and that God will be with us through whatever challenges and joys we experience.
If we listen carefully to the many thoughts running through our minds, we will realize how much regret and worry we have about so many things. If we are still and slowly recall the fears lodged in our minds—both past and present—we will see the many places where worry, regret and false hope consume us.
Yet faith offers a profound reliance on the mysterious presence of God with us. Faith sets us free. It releases us to live in trust and frees our energy to do more work, enjoy life more abundantly, and love more fully.
I trust you, O God. Help me release worry and regret as I grow in my faith. Amen.
Lamentations opens with a description of the plight of the people of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. The people have been taken into exile as part of God’s judgment for their idolatry. The psalmist struggles to sing the songs of the Lord. In fact, those who overthrew Jerusalem have forced them to sing for their amusement, so the joy is gone. The psalmist prays that one day God will repay the invaders. In Second Timothy Paul praises God for Timothy’s faith and for the legacy of faith that comes through his family. He charges him to preach boldly and without hesitation the gospel of Christ. In the Gospel reading, Jesus challenges the disciples to show greater faith and to understand that we are all servants in God’s kingdom.
Read Lamentations 1:1-6. How do you allow your imperfections and failings to transform you?
Read Psalm 137. How do you remember your spiritual traditions and sacred places without clinging to them in the rapid changes of our world? How do you look for God’s work in change?
Read 2 Timothy 1:1-14. What spiritual practices help you to “guard the good treasure entrusted to you”?
Read Luke 17:5-10. How might a posture of cyclical servanthood to and with all creation transform or increase your faith?
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