Above: A Drawing of a Mulberry Tree, 1919 or 1920
Image Source = Library of Congress
Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-npcc-28990
The Sunday Closest to October 5
Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost
OCTOBER 2, 2016
The Assigned Readings:
Lamentations 1:1-6 and Lamentations 3:19-26 (as a canticle) or Psalm 137
Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 and Psalm 37:1-10
2 Timothy 1:1-14
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Some Related Posts:
Proper 22, Year A:
Proper 22, Year B:
Prayer of Praise and Adoration:
Prayer of Confession:
Prayer of Dedication:
2 Timothy 1:
The readings from Habakkuk and Lamentations speak of suffering because of sins. Thus they reflect a major theological theme of the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet, amid widespread apostasy, faithful people remain. And sometimes the faithful suffer because of their piety. There is more than one cause for suffering.
“Faith” is a word with more than one meaning in the Bible. In some instances it indicates an intellectual assent to a proposition or to propositions. Thus, in the Letter of James, where this is the definition, works must accompany faith. For the Apostle Paul, however, faith was inherently active, so works were already part of the formula and faith sufficed for justification to God. The Letter to the Hebrews contains a third understanding, one in which faith is
the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
–11:1, New Revised Standard Version
There it is a valid way of knowing that which we can neither confirm nor debunk by another means.
Faith, in Luke 17:5f, follows the Pauline definition. It must do so, for the Gospels exist to, among other things, encourage discipleship–following Jesus. The request for increased levels of faith is a prayer to be able to obey God and follow Jesus better.
That is a proper spiritual gift to seek to increase. It can enable one to survive suffering and hardship falling prey to anger and resentment, thereby poisoning one’s soul. No, may we avoid poisoning our souls, by faith. And may we have more of it, by grace.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
MAY 1, 2013 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILIP AND JAMES, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS