1 Kings 18:20-21, (22-29) 30-39 (or 1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43); Psalm 96 (or Psalm 96:1-9); Galatians 1:1-12; Luke 7:1-10
“We are only the light bulbs, and our job is just to remain screwed in.” – Desmond Tutu
You are driving down a dark country road late at night. Even though you have your head lights on you can only see several yards ahead, no further. Out in the distance where you want to go it is pitch dark. But you are not worried. You have been down many similar roads before. You keep going. The above scenario is an image for faith. Faith does not mean we see what is ahead clearly, see the future clearly. Faith is a relationship with God. Because of that relationship we have trust. In today’s Gospel Jesus is amazed at the faith of the centurion (Luke 7:9). This leader of soldiers was humble, and did not feel worthy to have Jesus come under his roof (Luke 7:6). He was in the flow of the stream of life. He knew the flow to be good even if the road ahead was dark. His faith was not in a set of rigid beliefs, not in arrogant dogmatism; his faith trusted, was open to the current. (see Greek below) Faith is contagious. It requires that we keep on keeping on. When we do we become a light for others. That is what Desmond Tutu meant when he said “We are only the light bulbs, and our job is just to remain screwed in.” Desmond Tutu’s whole life was screwed into Christ, and he shown bright for South Africa and the world. We don’t get faith by memorizing the rules. Faith comes to us as a gift while we live. We fall in faith, just as we fall in love.
The Greek word for faith is often unfortunately translated “believe.” It is an undesirable translation because “belief” in modern usage carries the luggage of cognitive acceptance, intellectual reception in our minds, as if Jesus is telling us to just accept what he is saying. However, the Greek word which is sometimes translated “faith” means to be in God-initiated relationship in our spirit, even if our minds are not aware of it. To be in spiritual reciprocal kinship is different than simply “believing” God exists or even that Jesus is God. It is shown, however, by our actions, not what we think about God. This is not about creedal statements.
Flow into darkness,
not knowing where we may go.
Life light on scene bursts.