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Challenges, the School of Trust

Sometimes communities like ours go through times when life feels particularly challenging.  At times like this I think of Moses, hearing the complaints of the Israelites in the desert about the lack of water, saying, “A water problem?  We can’t be having a water problem.  We’re due in the Promised Land a year from now.  Why do we have to stop and deal with this?!”  Moses and the Israelites maybe weren’t in a mood to hear it, but hidden in “the water problem” was the seed of the Promised Land.  The Promised Land is the land of walking in trust with the Living God.  The same was true for the Egyptians-to-our-back-and-the-Red-Sea-to-our-front problem, the no food problem, the golden-calf problem, etc.  It was all a part of the journey of learning to trust. 

The first reading tonight is not about the exodus from Egypt, but it tells the story of a people who were steeped and forged in that tradition.  When a foreign military commander is troubled by leprosy, one of the Israelite girls, who had been captured and carried off by his armies, essentially says in total innocence, “Hey, everybody!  I know what we can do about this leprosy!  Let’s trust God!”  Trust in God he did, and he was cleansed of his leprosy.  Tonight’s gospel echoes this ancient story. 

Discerning God’s Moves

I want to tease out this notion of growing in trust of God over a long journey.  George von Stamwitz has shared with us brilliantly about how there is value in thinking of God as a verb rather than a noun.  A noun is something that can be named.  God is someone whom we know through God’s activity like a verb.  God is on the move, living and loving.  Our job is not to define God, but to discern where God is moving  and to walk with Her. 

When we as a community are discerning the leading of the Mysterious One, there is a sense of being a people that is important.  Even Moses could not act as though he were not in communion with his people.  Certainly the early Christians acted as a community; theirs was not a top-down world.  So while leadership was important, sometimes the community as a whole had to discern the movement of God, even if the leaders take a leading role.  (See Acts 15) 

Each of Us Plays a Part

An important part of our trusting is this.  Each of us needs to trust that God is speaking to each other.  Each of us, because of our different life experiences and a variety of other factors, is able to hear different urgings from the Divine Initiator.  So as a group we never know where the next part of the discernment is going to come from.  Grace falls where it may.  So with great respect for our differences and our call to be one community, we move forward, trusting that God will indeed move (for God is a verb) and that we will be able to sync up with Her direction and pace.

September 12, 2013 
Sts. Clare & Francis ECC 
28th Sunday of the Year 
2 Kings 5:14-17 
2 Timothy 2:8-13 
Luke 17:11-19

Homily by Frank Krebs

Photo by Laura Gilmore on flickr.com

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