Tag Archives: hope

Faith, Trust, Doubt, and Hope

Click here to listen to the sermon that came from the following notes.

There are times when God leads you to a passage and you just wonder why God had to lead you there. This week we are going to look at Jesus’ interactions with people bringing someone they cared about to him for healing. The first story is that of a Roman Centurion with an ill servant.

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. Luke 8:5-13

  • A loaded question. Purity rules, entering a gentiles house.
  • Centurion’s respect for culture – humility.
  • Centurion’s faith shows that the kingdom is offered to all, not just the “chosen race.”
  • Just being born into the right family doesn’t guarantee us a relationship with God. We must pursue it.

The next story is from the gospel of Mark 9:14-27 and is a much different circumstance involving a Father who has watched their child suffer for many years.

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

  • Failure is to be expected.
  • Disciples like us don’t always know the best way to approach a situation.
  • The only real failure for us is to not take things to Jesus, so maybe there isn’t a failure here after all.
  • “If you can?” vs. “If you will?”
  • Worn down faith needs Jesus, not judgment. Doubt is natural and can be the catalyst for deeper faith. Talk about my struggle with faith re:Analise.
  • Key element to both stories: humility.
  • Let us come before God together to seek his will in humility, but with Hope that our Father will act.

The Beautifully Broken

Two weekends ago my wife broke her right arm after a snowshoeing trip. This morning was an interesting time since my daughter Amy’s school finally reopened after Portland’s rare snow event. I was finally able to catch up on some of the work that is needed to keep a house functional and reflected on how much we as humans rely on others for so much.

Last winter I was broken. Bone spurs had formed in my lower spine and physical therapy was a constant yet needed torment. I couldn’t bend or lift much, and my wife got to carry the burden of the housework, mostly on her own. I did what I could, but I felt absolutely inadequate for the first time in my life. I was broken and it felt ugly to me. Because it felt ugly I failed to recognize the service that others were gifted to bring me, and now that I think about it, I see how beautiful it is when communities gather around others in support. Now we must be dependent again, but this time my wife who is healing from a complex break must struggle with the ugly brokenness of a complex fracture. There is beauty here as well, and now as I feel overwhelmed by the housework and the kids, as we struggle with a 1 year old who doesn’t understand why Mama can’t pick her up, as we receive the blessings of a community looking for ways to serve I hope I don’t miss the beauty.

We are all broken, but there is beauty in the brokenness when we accept the gifts of others, when God comes alongside us through the tangible ministry of our faith community. This beauty is hard for me to accept because it forces me to look at the brokenness, but there is a deeper beauty to be had. There is the deepest beauty of looking at the brokenness and saying no matter how ugly it gets the beauty is stronger and will outshine and overwhelm the ugliness. Through the breaks beauty shines. Through the breaks the Light of the Spirit pours out in streams of living water. I still hate the brokenness, but I can withstand it if the beautiful Light of God shines through others into me.

New Poetry “Where is Freedom?” and “The Shout”

Sorry about the lateness. Last weekend I was at the 22nd Annual Celtic Prayer Retreat put on by Mustard Seed Associates. It was a truly life giving time of connection and reflection with a liturgy centered on the story of St. Brendan, an Irish monk who jumped into a small boat with a few brothers and let the wind take them where God willed. During the liturgy there was a time of Lectio Divina centered around two scriptures Isaiah 42:5-10 and Revelation 21:1-4 I was inspired to write a poem out of each lectio. To honor the lectio style of reflection I will share the scriptures immediately followed by my poems below.

Isaiah 42:5-10

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth! Let the sea roar and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.

Where is freedom?

Where is freedom?

The captives are still bound

Addictions still rule us

Our gods are still not you

We stay lost rather than found

We choose the familiar cage

Over an unfamiliar world

Our captivity is maintained

By shining screens which change

To match a growing desire

Which can never be filled

With things that break and fail

We need freedom from our captivity

To every thing that is not you

We need a peace from incessant noise

Help us find silences filled with you

There is freedom

Creative Commons License
Where is freedom? by Gilbert George is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://extrovertedquaker.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/freedom-shout/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://extrovertedquaker.wordpress.com.

Revelations 21:1-4

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

The Shout

Someday I will hear the shout

God is home

And home is here

The tears have come

And our Daddy has held

Us until the storm of

Mourning has passed

All that we knew has

Died and like the seed

Has sprouted to new life

Beyond pain, beyond death

Beyond tears, beyond agonies

Of loss, the emptiness has fled

And now we are filled, overflowing

With home, with you, with us

Creative Commons License
The Shout by Gilbert George is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://extrovertedquaker.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/freedom-shout/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://extrovertedquaker.wordpress.com.