A Lectionary Blog
The Rev. Leslie M. St. Louis
All of this week’s lessons speak in some way of faithfulness. The Gospel speaks most directly about faithfulness in our lives, but in the Old Testament lesson from Amos, we experience that lesson in the converse. The lesson speaks of the people who want the Sabbath to end quickly so that they can go back to living in their unfaithful, dishonest ways, and we are told in the very last line that God will remember this and presumably not be pleased.
I rather imagine faithfulness is not something we think about very often, and I am going to bet that for most of us it is simply sort of like the air—we just expect that it is present and we are shocked when it is not. I am quite sure that most of us do not think of faithfulness as a practice, just like exercise, that it is something that we must choose to do and choose to nurture.Sometime ago I happened to catch a segment on CBS news about 1st Lieutenant Billie Harris. Harris was a pilot in World War II. He flew his last mission over Nazi occupied France on July 17, 1944, a mission from which he never returned. At first he was listed as missing in action, and his family was later told he had been killed but his remains never came home. Over the years, his widow tried to find his final resting place but no one seemed to know where he was. Some sixty years later his nephew requested Lieutenant Harris’s military records and found that his Uncle was buried in Normandy. The sixty year saga was an impressive story in and of itself but the piece that struck me was the final question that Steve Hartman asked Peggy Harris.
“It’s been 60 years?” He said. “You’ve never moved on, never remarried, why is that?"Billie was married to me all of his life, and I choose to be married to him all of my life," Harris said.
Faithfulness. A choice to remain persuaded to something or in this case someone. In the case of our journey with God a choice to remain persuaded by the divine. To walk on a path that is set by our discipleship and marked by the same.
There are several places in scripture which speak to the covenant relationship we are to have with God. The first two of the Ten Commandments:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Speak directly of what our relationship with God must be, while the remaining commandments peak of our relationship to one another. One of the most eloquent pieces of scripture about our relationship with God can be found in a short verse in the book of Micah, Micah 6:8:
“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Perhaps it might be an interesting exercise to think about how to live faithfully for the next seven days. As a guide, let me provide a link to an article by Brian McLaren for Sojourner’s magazine. I encourage you to take the challenge he lays forth for the next seven days and let us see where we all end up.