Readings: 1 Kings 19:9-18, Romans 10:5-15, Matthew 14:22-33
Faith comes through the Holy Spirit. And in faith we seek our Lord, we call upon him.
With ears of faith, we hear God in the silence, as Elijah did.
With hearts of faith we confess Jesus as Lord and can call upon him in our struggles, like Peter sinking like a rock in the sea.
With hearts full of faith we proclaim Jesus and we foster the healing and reconciliation which is in Christ for you and for all the world.
In light of the events at Charlottesville this weekend, it must be stated that God's message is one of love. Unity and peace are found only in Christ, though his kingdom which celebrates all diversity. Christ's kingdom is rest for the weary, acceptance for the unloved, justice for the oppressed. It is not gained through intimidation, fear, or violence. It is true that the church has not always seen this. But we must repent of our participation in systems that lead to violence and hate of any group. That is not how Jesus Christ implements his Kingdom. The Holy Spirit works in the world to bring Christ in love and peace, gaining a unity that can only manifest itself from a center in Jesus Christ; in Jesus Christ who stands profoundly with those who are targets of hate, who are valued less than others, or who are left to struggle on their own by others who have means to help.
The Holy Spirit, alive in Christ’s church, moving in and through your actions and your words, bears Jesus. It bears Christ and his gospel of love in the world--through your actions!
The things you do for your neighbor:
standing up for the forgotten,
welcoming the stranger,
smiling upon the unloved...
They are your, loud and clear, confessions of Christ as Lord. They are God’s Kingdom coming near.
Your loving actions are proclamation, much louder and more effective than mere words uttered behind stained glass windows.
These bear Christ to the world through power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit (again I'll say, nothing less than the Holy Spirit) empowers you to stand up to and reject fear, hatred, and intolerance; and the Holy Spirit empowers you to work for healing, reconciliation, and understanding.
Wherever you go to seek God, whether it’s in the loud rushing wind and raging fire, or in the still small voice, the silence, know that God is with you. God is with you in trials, and God is with you in good times. Be fed by Christ’s presence and know that God goes with you in the world to be Christ’s light, and to flavor the earth with the salt of Christ's Kingdom.
The Holy Spirit, grant us faith to call upon Christ in all things, to confess him and proclaim him in word and deed, to the glory of God the Father.