Good Morning and Happy Monday!
Today’s sermon is Have a Little Faith. 😉
Let’s start with you. At the bottom of each metaphorical hill, do you think you’ll manage to climb it? Most days, we each have faith in ourselves, even if we can’t see exactly how we’ll manage it. After all, getting out of bed some mornings is the biggest act of optimism we have.
Now let’s move on to those you love, your closest family members, by blood, marriage, or otherwise. Do you doubt your loved ones’ ability to rise above, to learn new things, to right yesterday’s wrongs? Of course you do. I remember I cried when our oldest was accepted into college, not because I doubted him, but because we were so happy for him. Even when he doubted himself, we knew he could do it.
Let’s move further out, to those you know but aren’t invested in, like the neighbor who’s up for a promotion, the barista who’s working their way through college or your co-worker’s child, who’s saving for their first car. Do you have faith in their ability to learn, to change, to achieve? Or do you doubt them? Of course you have faith. It costs you nothing and you’re pleased when they accomplish their goal, right?
Up the challenge a bit, though. If the individual in question does something you don’t understand, or worse, don’t like or agree with, do you still have faith that they can rise to the challenge? Or do you focus on their flaws? Many of us focus on the flaws, especially if we’re not invested. We find ourselves expecting the worst. Children misbehave, jerks cut you off in traffic and “those people” always mess with your day. (Notice it’s always “those people” and not “my people” who mess with you.) Maybe you even doubt your own loved one. After all, the last time they were late it was because…. (fill in the blank with whatever awful thing they’d done in the past) …. and why wouldn’t they keep doing something thoughtless? It’s a wonder you bother with them at all, given how horribly awful they are, right? Isn’t the definition of faith seeing something that isn’t proven?
Expecting the worst of people takes no faith. Expecting others to do their best takes tremendous faith, especially if the individual has history. But don’t we all? Don’t each of us want to be measured on what we accomplished today, not what we failed to do yesterday?
The joy of living in our culture is that we have the power of choice. We can choose to be optimistic, and have faith in each other. Or we can choose to be pessimistic and expect the worst. I choose faith. I choose to see opportunity. I choose to see the value in those around me. This is not because I’m naive or blind to their flaws, or that I’m happy with the consequences if (not when) they fall short. It’s because I don’t want to live in a world where everyone expects the worst of each other. I want to live in a world where we expect the best.
How about you? Do you choose to have faith? I know many of you do because you’ve shown that you have faith in me. You’ve shown appreciation when I got it right and given me constructive feedback when I got it wrong, even when you didn’t know me well. We’ve grown together as a community and as friends because we have faith in each other.
As we go through challenging political times, I have faith in each of us to find the best, most productive path forward. I have faith that we really are better together, not in spite of our disagreements, but because we know that we are more in common than we are in difference. Even if we have apprehensions, I hope we all have a little faith that we will find our way. If you need a little musical inspiration, here’s is John Hiatt’s Have a Little FaithJohn Hiatt’s Have a Little FaithJohn Hiatt’s Have a Little Faith.
Have a great week!