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The Righteous Live by Faith
Faith is the theme for today’s readings, but not just any faith. It is a life-transforming faith, one that demonstrates the very presence of God moving, alive, and active in God’s people. In response to Habakkuk’s oracle, the Lord answered him that “the righteous live by their faith” (Hab. 2:4b). But just what does it mean to be righteous? It’s a righteousness imparted by God, who creates and claims each of us as God’s own sons and daughters, bringing us into this family by our baptisms and by the faith God gives us makes us holy children. Being part of this divine family gives us our worth, even at those times we may not think of ourselves as worthy. In 2 Timothy, the author writes a history of the faith in Timothy’s family, beginning with his grandmother and then passed on to his mother and himself. This is how many of us were first brought into the family of God: we had faithful parents who knew of their own God-given righteousness and then passed this gift on to their children. But again, it’s all God’s doing! Finally, Jesus’ disciples boldly ask their teacher to “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). They knew that faith was something needed, and Jesus explains that even a small amount of faith can do great wonders. What does it mean to have this sort of faith, a faith that can serve God’s purposes here to truly be God’s work and yet it’s done with our hands? On this Sunday, help the assembly experience this faith that God has given us. It’s a gift and connection to our God.
Gospel: Luke 17:5-10
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus instructs his followers about the power of faith and the duties of discipleship. He calls his disciples to adopt the attitude of servants whose actions are responses to their identity rather than works seeking reward.
5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 8Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 9Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’ ”