- The Rev. Arianne Rice
“What do we do to perform the works of God?” the disciples asked Jesus
“This is what you must do,” Jesus answered – “have faith”
That’s what we just heard (John 6:27-40). When Jesus says – believe in me – that means – have faith. Living our faith. That is godly work. Especially in time such as this. Faith is the starting place. Faith is what begins all good work. Living our faith is what following Jesus is all about. Which is why that is what he tells his anxious disciples to do.
Have faith. Because faith is a verb – it is active – it is engaged. Faith is the sign by which people know not just who we are – but whose we are. How great it is that we should be called children of God – for that is what we are. (1 John 3)
Faith reminds us and everyone around us of that life-giving truth.
What works are we to do in this time and place? We are to live our faith.
This morning I am beyond grateful to be doing the good work of supporting one another in faith with Bill and Wim – and with everyone gathered within the flock of the Good Shepherd this morning.
How incredible it is that we are embodying what it means to be church – which is not a building but a body of Christ.
Sure literally – we are gathering through a technology – but what actually joins our hearts is the Holy Spirit.
God called this gathering into being – and we respond to that call by giving our hearts and minds to God in worship and in prayer.
That’s living our faith. And its work. And that is really hard now. It’s hard to keep the faith when everything around us is being upended – changing – shifting – faster than we can intellectually or emotionally even begin to process or integrate.
Earlier this week I told myself – I had to get up to speed on everything – the news – the latest technologies – how to do worship online – how to reach out and help people in need – how to coordinate our efforts – how to help myself, my daughter, my family – so much to get up to speed on.
But then – in prayer – the good Lord reminded me – Arianne, you are not a car. You don’t have a pedal or a button you can press to get up to speed right now. Because you can’t do that. You aren’t wired that way. A Child of God is wired to have faith. So have faith in God – who has faith in you.
That’s my message this morning my friends. Have faith in God – because God has faith in all of us.
Faith isn’t about getting up to speed. Faith isn’t about getting anything. Faith is seeing what we already have. Faith is trusting what we’ve already been given. The light of Christ – the love of God. Leaning into that faith – shining that light – sharing that love. And in doing so we bring hope and faith into the world.
In case you haven’t noticed, this isn’t what we typically do on Sundays and I don’t just mean live streaming on Facebook. This is morning prayer. A different service entirely.
Morning prayer is what we call a daily office. A prayer practice to begin each day. To strengthen faith so that no matter what they day may bring – we start by reminding ourselves that God is with us.
And in morning prayer – we don’t break bread – we break open the word of God. We meet Christ in the living word of scripture. Which Jesus tells us this morning sometimes is bread enough.
We break open that word and take it in. Into our hearts and minds – into our lives right now to ease our anxieties and calm our fears. Because the word of God is living and steadfast. The word of God is abounding in mercy and love.
That’s the word Jesus shares. The word of God is life - eternally. The love of God is eternal – our faith is forever.
What works do we need to do – the disciples ask Jesus. Have faith – Jesus responds.
What words are supporting you in your faith? Most of us are taking in more words, consuming more information than ever before – and we were already consuming a lot.
I want to encourage you on this Sabbath day – on this day that the Lord has made – to find some Sabbath every day.
Take time each day – for the word of God. Start each day – end each day – maybe even during the day – take in the word of God.
Set aside time for prayer – and put aside getting up to speed on everything else. Set aside some time for reading scripture – and take time to do one thing – Be still, and know, as the psalmist writes – that God is God.
What are the works we need to do? We need to live our faith. We need to share good words with ourselves and with each other. Our faith helps us with that – for God is a very present help in the time of trouble.
So take in the word of God this day – that the Lord is good – his mercies are everlasting – and his faithfulness endures from age to age.