At the United Methodist church that I attended this morning, the pastor preached about faith, in light of the recent Charleston tragedy. Our Scripture text was Mark 4:35-41, in which the disciples are fretting and panicking on a boat on account of a storm, and they wake Jesus up because they want him to care. Jesus then rebukes the storm, and it goes away. Jesus asks his disciples why they were afraid—-do they still have no faith?
The pastor was talking about how things were miserable for a lot of people in those days, and many resigned themselves to that misery. Jesus, however, was proclaiming a different reality, the Kingdom of God, as he was healing people and helping the poor. The disciples should have been recognizing that God was at work all around them, but they had a hard time letting go of their resignation to misery. Faith, according to the pastor, entailed recognizing God’s work, but also realizing that God has empowered them to change the world. The pastor said that our little interactions can have ripple effects that can change the world. Regarding the recent Charleston tragedy, the pastor said that many people have come to the point where they just accept that this world is a violent place, and that shootings will occur, but she was challenging that resignation. She also said that faith entails accepting some loss of freedom for the sake of the public safety, and she was probably referring to gun control there.
I can probably comment on this sermon, as I do with sermons that I hear. But I will just let my summary of her sermon stand. As I write this, I am watching ABC This Week, which I taped while I was away at church. Even pundits and newscasters who would probably be stereotyped as secular people are amazed and moved by the display of faith, forgiveness, and yet honesty on the part of the church in Charleston that was victimized last week. Is that an example of what my pastor talked about this morning: People living their faith with the power of God, and that sending ripple effects throughout the world?