Sixteenth Day of Easter   12 comments

Christ in Majesty, Chartres Cathedral

Faith in Jesus, Not Tradition(s)

Monday, April 16, 2018

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Acts 6:8-15 (Revised English Bible):

Stephen, full of grace and power, began to do great wonders and signs among the people.  Some members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, comprising Cyrenians and Alexandrians and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and argued with Stephen, but could not hold their own against the inspired wisdom with which he spoke.  They then put up men to allege that they had heard him make blasphemous statements against Moses and against God.  They stirred up the people and the elders and scribes, set upon him and seized him, and brought him before the Council.  They produced false witnesses who said,

This fellow is for ever saying things against this holy place and against the law.  For we have heard him say this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and alter the customs handed down to us by Moses.

All who were sitting in the Council fixed their eyes on him, and his face seemed to them like the face of an angel.

Psalm 27:7-14 (Revised English Bible):

Hear, LORD, when I cry aloud;

show my favour and answer me.

Come,

my heart has said,

seek his presence.

I seek your presence, LORD;

do not hide your face from me,

nor in your anger turn away from your servant,

whose help you have been;

God my saviour, do not reject me or forsake me.

Though my father and my mother forsake me,

the LORD will take me into his care.

Teach me your way, LORD;

do not give me up to the greed of my enemies;

lead me by a level path

to escape the foes who beset me:

liars breathing malice come forward

to give evidence against me.

Well I know that I shall see the goodness of the LORD

in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD; be strong and brave,

and put your hope in the LORD.

John 6:22-29 (Anchor Bible):

The next day the crowd which had remained on the other side of the sea observed that there had only been one boat there and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in that boat, for his disciples had departed alone.  Then some boats came out from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread [after the Lord had given thanks].  So, once the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they too embarked and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

And when they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him,

Rabbi, when did you come here?

Jesus answered,

Truly, I assure you, you are not looking for me because you have seen signs, but because you have eaten your fill of the loaves.  You should not be working for perishable food but for food which the Son of Man will give you; for it is on him that God the Father has set His seal.

At this they said to him,

What must we do, then, to ‘work’ the works of God?

Jesus replied,

This is the work of God; have faith in him whom He sent.

The Collect:

O God, you have united diverse peoples in the confession of your Name: Grant that all who have been born again in the font of Baptism may also be united in faith and love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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Faith is an often used and frequently misunderstood word.  In its most unfortunate misapprehension the word means checking one’s brain at the church door and assenting blindly to what a designated ecclesiastical authority says.  This version of faith rests on accumulated tradition without questioning that tradition.  It states that people today need to accept propositions X, Y, and Z because that was what some people understood as truth in some previous year or era.

That is insufficient, and, in my opinion, simply wrong-headed.

In the context this day’s assigned reading from the Johannine Gospel faith is trust in one person, Jesus.  Faith and truth are related, for both depend on reliability.  Jesus is reliable, for he did what he said he would do.  His deeds and words were of a piece, so we can place our faith in him wisely.  Faith in Jesus can empower a person to withstand great hardship.  It empowered Stephen the Deacon to “have the face of an angel” in the company of those who, shortly after this day’s reading from Acts ended, had him executed.

Jesus of Nazareth is the Word of God.  May we who have faith in him deepen that faith, and may those who do not have faith in him come to it then deepen it.

KRT

Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 6, 2010

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Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2018, April, Easter, Episcopal Church Lectionary

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