We are called to believe in God, and Abraham is the quintessential exemplar of such faith. He believed God’s promises related to an as-yet-undisclosed land, an unborn heir, and an unfulfilled promise of blessing.
The writer of Hebrews refers to faith as both “assurance” and “conviction.” Assurance is foundational. As the Benedictine monk Anselm said, “I believe in order that I may understand.”
We would prefer it the other way around. We want to understand clearly in order that we might believe. Thomas refused to believe until he received evidence. Jesus did not rebuke him, but he did commend the faith of future generations who would believe without seeing.
Faith provides support like the foundation of a building. We may not see it, but the foundation determines the safety and durability of the edifice. We are not alone in bearing witness to this unseen but substantial foundation. A great cloud of witnesses has gone before.
Faith is also like an established conviction. An engagement ring serves as a token of a promise. The promise: At some point in the future the couple will come together in holy matrimony. But neither the beauty of the stone nor the quality of the ring determines the integrity of the promise. No, it is the character of the one making the promise that is decisive.
We, as children of God, can have “conviction of things not seen” because we know the character and integrity of the One in whom we have believed. God keeps God’s promises. We have the record of other witnesses, and daily we experience the sense of awe and wonder at being alive, held in the unseen reality of God’s providence, perseverance, and grace.
O God, may I see with eyes of faith the foundation of the faithful and the certainty of unseen presence in my life today. Amen.
ThelessonfromIsaiahandthepsalmcallthe people of God to “Hear!” The message has to do with sacri ces and burnt offerings: God does not want them! The sacri cial system had come to be understood as a means of attempting to manipulate God for self-centered purposes, and the texts there- fore call for worship that is God-centered. The Gospel lesson also calls the people of God to decision. Our use of nancial resources is inextricably linked to our conviction that the future and our destiny lie ultimately with God. What we believe about the future affects how we live in the present. This af rmation is precisely the message of Hebrews. The entrusting of one’s life and future to God is “the reality of things hoped for, the proof of things not seen.” For those who trust in God’s reign, “God is not ashamed to be called their God.”
• Read Isaiah 1:1, 10-20. In what ways can you let go of a self-centered focus in worship?
• Read Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23. What are your antidotes to worry? How do they allow you to deal with anxieties in your life?
• Read Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16. What allows you to focus on the awe and wonder of being held in God’s grace?
• Read Luke 12:32-40. Where do you see God at work in your life? How is this awareness a part of having your “lamp lit”?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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