Monday, October 7, 2013

Faith and Powerlessness

Sermon for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost from Bishop Jake Owensby:


Let’s face it, some of the things we ask of Jesus must lead him to think, “Really!?!
When we ask for a convenient parking space because we’ve over-scheduled ourselves, or we plead with him to pass a test for which we’ve scarcely studied, or promise to do better if we just get away with a repeated stupidity this last time, a little frustration from Jesus seems completely understandable.
But asking for more faith seems like a really Jesus-y request.  That’s why Jesus’ response to his disciples in today’s Gospel can leave us a little puzzled.  (Luke 17:5-10)

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Q6njOnj7_K8/Uk8sDejHaII/AAAAAAAABkE/4p64XBTtcIo/s1600/Rene+Magritte's+"Good+Faith".jpg
Rene Magritte's "Good Faith"
Instead of giving them the faith he wants them to have in the first place, he tells them what even a nanogram of faith could do, if they actually had a nanogram of it..
As if that weren’t bad enough, Jesus goes on to tell a parable whose point initially appears to be something like this: Don’t get all puffed up about the good you do.  You’ve only done what God expects.  There’s no extra credit for that.
Jesus has a radical lesson for his disciples--for us--in all of this.  The life of faith is apparently not what we often think it is.  Let’s take a closer look at the life of faith by exploring three questions:
First, what is faith?
Second, how does faith shape our behavior?
Finally, why does faith lead to a life of service?
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