Tumbling in the Sand
The texts for Sunday, August 11,2013 (Lectionary 19 C): Genesis 15:1–6; Psalm 33:12–22; Hebrews 11:1–3, 8–16; and Luke 12:32–40
“[God] brought [Abram] outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.'” – Genesis 15:5
“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.” – Hebrews 11: 16
Did you know that faith is a forward looking thing, not a backward looking thing?
This is really important.
So often when we talk about faith or about faith communities (church), we talk about the past. We talk about our parents or our grandparents. We talk about events that happened some specific place in some former time. We talk about the way things used to be and how great they were. We talk about what we learned in Sunday School when we were kids.
But that isn’t the direction of faith. That isn’t the direction that faith calls us to look.
Those things from the past are useful, important ways that we grew in faith. Those people of our past and events of the past are precious in our lives and certainly are a part of our present because they make us who we are.
But to focus on what has been or what used to be is to return to the land we came from. It’s to turn back from the promises that God writes on the stars. It’s to ignore what faith is calling us to see.
Because faith is not about what has been. It’s not about what we can hold on to or what we’ve already seen. It’s not about what has been possible in the past or so far.
No, faith is about this amazing hope in what will yet be. It’s about believing in what has not yet been seen. It’s about reaching out for God’s promises just beyond what our eyes strain to see under the starlit skies.
So, what will yet be? What vision is God kindling in you? What promises of God are you hearing whispered in the dark? What dreams are calling you to move out from what was and to strain toward the world that God is making new?
I should warn you: these visions, dreams, and whispers of God will call you to let go of things you’d like to cling to (seriously, there are no stories in scripture about faithful people following God that get to cling to stuff or place or people). These promises of the future just beyond what you can see are sometimes frightening because they ask you to let go of control. This future that God holds for you is not what used to be, no matter how great “used to be” was.
But, let me tell you the good news: God’s promises are true—as true as the stars in the heavens. God’s dreams and visions are worth the reach and the letting go. God’s future is better than we could ever even imagine.
And, better than all of that, God has prepared the way and God goes with us into the dark.
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