A Sermon for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

By: Eleanor Wellford, Priest Associate

 

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

A few weeks ago, I was preparing for a class that we’re offering here this summer on Paul’s letter to the Colossians. We use a study guide with questions that we’re supposed to think and write about before coming to class. There was one question in particular that really caught me off guard and it surprised me by how much I struggled to answer it. The question was: How do you define faith? Have you ever tried to do that? I think you know if you have faith, but how do you describe what that is? Is it trust or a belief or are those words more like synonyms rather than definitions?

In many of his letters, Paul praises his communities for the faith that they have in Christ Jesus. In this morning’s letter to the Hebrews, he defines that faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). That sounds really good, but what does it mean?

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A Sermon for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

By: David H. May, Rector

 

Most Tuesdays at our weekly church staff meeting we begin the meeting by reflecting on the gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday. It’s always interesting to hear how the reading strikes us: how something is confusing or comforting or challenging or even funny. This past Tuesday I heard several comments that reminded me of conversations that have been going on in my own soul for a long time and that I’m pretty sure aren’t finished. These comments more or less boil down to the realization that a lot of us would much rather hit our thumbs with a hammer, repeatedly, than be asked to pray. The thought of someone turning to you and saying, ‘will you pray,’ is enough to make faithful souls break into a cold sweat.

I wonder why when it comes to praying a lot of people sound just like we did at our staff meeting. Are we afraid we’ll say the wrong thing and embarrass ourselves? Are we worried we won’t sound like the beautiful Book of Common Prayer prayers? Maybe something too personal will slip out. Whatever the answers are, they all seem to point towards the way it all makes us feel just a little too vulnerable, like just a little too much of our humanity is showing.

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