Year B Lent 3 WEDNESDAY, 11 March 2021
A Video Service from St. James the Less Episcopal, Ashland, VA
"The How of Faith"
Collect: Give ear to our prayers, O Lord, and direct the way of your servants in safety under your protection, that, amid all the changes of our earthly pilgrimage, we may be guarded by your mighty aid; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ Then the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.’ Jesus answered, ‘Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgement is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.’ Then they said to him, ‘Where is your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.’ He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
In my last few sermons I have looked at Why we do what we do, but this morning I want to look at the How.
Jesus is the Light, and because of that, we have been illuminated. In our Romans reading, Paul spells it out quite plainly.
through [Jesus Christ] we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand;
we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God
we also boast in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance, and
endurance produces character, and
character produces hope, and
hope does not disappoint us, because
God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
There is so much truth in that sequence. We are even here because of what Christ did for us, through the Grace of God in Christ we are even here.
We are proud of that, boast in it even. We are loved and that love makes us proud.
That pride by association enables us to be with God through thick and thin, the glory and the suffering.
But that suffering, while hard, is not all bad. It produces in us the ability keep on keeping on, endurance, the long haul.
And when that long game takes its effect on us it produces Christlikeness in us, character for another word for it.
And when we see what Christ can do in us, we see with the eyes of faith what God can do in the world. That gives us hope. Hope comes from this journey with God that God and God’s way will eventually win the day.
And that hope is sure, because the God who was true in the past, will be today, tomorrow, and always.
And even more, with the Holy Spirit on our side, we are unstoppable.
Before this even started, before we even began, Christ loved us and did whatever he could to clear the way for us to be with him forever, and even more, for us to be active agents of grace for him in the world.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” May we make that so in our lives, and how we follow Jesus, in how we live in the light. Amen