Readings for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-16; Luke 12:22-34

Sunday’s readings were written for hand-wringers and worry warts. And because ALL of us wrestle with occasional or even chronic anxiety, these are passages we all need to hear. Abram was worried that he wouldn’t have any offspring to carry forward God’s promise to him after his death. The disciples of Jesus (it’s implied) were worried about where their next meal or pair of sandals would come from. (Gn 15, Lk 12)

Worry creeps in the moment we convince ourselves that everything is up to us – that the solution to any problem pinning us down must rest on our own weak and unsteady shoulders. The Bible calls this “living by the Law” (see Romans 4). Relief comes when we stop trying to shoulder the burden ourselves and start listening to God. “I am your shield,” He says to Abram. “Fear not, little flock,” Jesus says to us, “for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” When we take God at His Word and trust Him to do the heavy lifting of our burdens, the Bible call that, “living by faith”.

The epistle lesson from Hebrews is a good complement to the other two. Often referred to as the “Hall of Faith” it recounts how God’s people in the Old Testament learned how to walk by faith rather than by sight, just as we do today. (Heb 11)