5-26-16 - Finding Faith

So often in the healing stories we find in the gospels, Jesus says to a person seeking wholeness, “Your faith has made you well.” He notices and rewards faith wherever he finds it. So it is in this week’s story – after the centurion makes his speech about humility and authority, Jesus is jubilant:

When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

It’s almost as though the power to heal is resident in us, and activated when we exercise faith. Or perhaps it’s this way – the power to heal is always available to us through the Holy Spirit, and when we exercise faith it sends some kind of homing signal that brings the power to bear. I don’t know the mechanism, but I do know this is the pattern we find in the bible, and often experience in our lives.

The smallest step of faith is often rewarded with signs of the Spirit’s movement around us. Jesus said faith as small as a mustard seed could cause mountains to be moved. But it needs to be a seed of real faith, for it also seems true that a refusal to believe can impede the power of God.

When we discuss faith in relation to healing, we risk suggesting that if someone does not experience dramatic healing after prayer, their faith was somehow deficient. The gospel record tells us that it seems important that someone in the situation has faith; it doesn’t have to be the sick person. We know nothing about what the sick servant in our story was going through, but it is the faith of his master that releases the healing. In the case of the paralytic, is the faith of the friends who bring him to Jesus that Jesus commends.

We are called to be faith-bearers for one another. That’s why it is so important that healing be a part of Christian communities. And we are also called to be faith-bearers for the world. If we together exercise faith for healing of nations, an end to violence, a release of generosity toward the poor, who knows what can result. If we take our cue from news stories, we will feed the despair. But putting our faith together and exercising it in prayers, small and vast, we can begin to see mountains move.

We must also support faith in each other. It can be a lonely thing believing in the promises of God – so pay attention to who around you seems to be exercising faith. Go and add your faith to theirs and draw from them. And together invite the Spirit to release the healing power already given us in Christ. We want Jesus to be excited about us too.

No comments:

Post a Comment