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"It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him." Hebrews 11:6 CEB
This is not the verse most of us would quote when describing faith. I would be willing to place money that most would invoke some form of Hebrews 11:1 as our known verse on faith. A full reading of this chapter may well be in order for those seeking to live into god's will.
You see, faith is shown in actions, especially those actions which at this point make such little sense, or so challenge our beliefs and understandings, that we balk at living them out. Faith has always been an action word, a verb and not a noun.
Faith for Abel was sacrificing something of worth, one of his precious animals. It would cost him to part with something he had nurtured and cared for. Noah would face ridicule for building a dig boat in the midst of the desert/wilderness. a place that got maybe 3 inches of rain a year. For Abraham faith would first show in leaving his family and the perceived security and going where God led him. Faith would show again when Sarah was given the ability to conceive a child in her years where child-bearing is normally impossible. Faith required Moses to risk his life to challenge Egyptian authorities so that God's chosen people would be released and sent to a new place of dwelling. Faith called 12 people of varying backgrounds to leave all and follow a man who would end up tortured, humiliated, and crucified. In all cases faith required action.
Yes, it was faith that would be described when Jesus told a prominent young man that in order to become righteous he would need to sell all he had and give the money to the poor. Like the young man, we often turn away, disappointed that the requirement to live out our words of faith would cost so much. And yet what these acts of faith remind us is the need to let go of our traditions and personal interests and instead follow the one we cannot see and whose story is so amazing that it goes from baptism in a river immediately out into the wilderness to face temptation. From the wilderness back into the world to challenge societal norms and mores, placing Jesus at odds not only with the political authorities, but also the established religious ones. Faith then calls each of us to recognize that Jesus is not dead but is risen and provides this same resurrection and new life.
As people of the empty tomb we can use empty words to describe faith or as scripture reminds us, we can live that faith out in active and real manner that speaks a new life to the world; one in which all are loved and cared for. This is the true power of faith in the empty tomb, of faith in the resurrection, of faith in Jesus not only as great teacher, but as Lord, Master, Shepherd, and as God incarnate. The examples set by the one we call Christ are lived out faith designed to help us understand and put faith into action.
God of unseen possibilities, we live so often within our own fears that stepping out and up in faith terrifies us. Often so much so that we use inaction and a reinterpretation of your words to aid in our hiding in the inn because we fear our light is not strong enough to penetrate the darkness of this world. Help us to remember we are not the light, you are. Let your light shine through us, lighting not only our way, but the way for all who seek to find a new path, one that leads to a truly safe and secure life for all of eternity. Amen.