The Rev. Noah valve Niel

St. John the Evangelist

February 25th, 2018

Lent II (B): Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:22-30; Romans 4:13-25; mark 8:31-38

Hold on just a little while longer / whatever will be alright

I learned the spiritual in my college Gospel choir, and also it comes, like many spirituals, the end of the endure of slavery and oppression africans underwent in these joined States. And also in its simple melody and refrain are housed a kernel of confidence the defies explanation. Because that how could anyone living through an suffer as dreadful as slavery not it is in crushed in body and spirit, allow alone trust, believe, song that “everything will be alright?” it is a track of win for the an easy fact that it was being sung at all. The is a track of strength and power and also endurance. That is a track of faith.

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It is that kind of faith, born from the womb the adversity, forged in the fires the affliction and also

tested in a people full of strife that gives these spirituals such a lasting legacy. That is a faith that saves world from providing up and also serves together the structure for our entire religion. The is the faith personified in Abraham, a male so famed for his confidence that he became the dad of the faithful. It to be his specifying characteristic and the crucial to the covenant that God made through him and his descendants. And that faith, embodied in him and inherited through us, is the crucial not simply to our salvation but our survival.

For those of friend who involved our very first class ~ above The scriptures last main (second class is ~ the 10am company today!) you’ll remember we talked a lot about the commitment that God made with Abraham. The is a three part covenant: I will be God come you; I will make friend the dad of plenty of nations; and also I will give you a soil of her own. The is this three component covenant that God claims is “everlasting,” — nothing Abraham or his descendants could do would ever before revoke it. It can never it is in broken.

Faith in this covenant and also whether it will certainly be upheld by God serves together the central drama the the Old Testament because over and also over again that is tested by the circumstances the human being of Israel discover themselves in. How are those guarantees possible, God? us are servants in Egypt, exactly how will you give us our very own land? us are overcame by foreign empires, God, just how are we still her people? It was that method from the minute the commitment is made. Together Abraham laughs, “You will certainly make my descendants much more numerous than the stars? Ha! ns am old and also my wife is notoriously barren! How’s the going to work? How’s this going to work, God? since I can’t check out a way forward.”

How often is the our question too? How frequently do we uncover ourselves in cases that it seems ~ impossibly bleak, where we look right into a future that is not simply cloudy but opaque? wherein we say, over there is no means forward; I have actually weighed every the outcomes and the good ones aren’t feasible and the feasible ones aren’t good. Even if it is it was a longed for seemingly difficult child because that Abraham and also Sarah; a longed for yet seemingly impossible flexibility for the civilization of Israel enslaved in Egypt; a longed for however seemingly difficult liberation for African slaves brought forcibly to this nation so that us might develop a country on their backs; come a longed for however seemingly impossible finish to the barrage the bullets piercing through the halls of our homes and our schools and on ours streets; to the longed for however seemingly impossible way forward through grief once we have lost, in a devilish instant, a beloved friend, father, husband, kid of God. There have been countless moments through background and numerous moments in our own lives where the case seems so hopeless that we wonder exactly how God will keep up his end of the bargain, how God will keep his promise that “I will certainly be God come you.” frequently it feels choose that promise is forget or forsaken or just impossible. As soon as we asking again and again and also again: “Where space you God? You said you’d it is in here.”

When ns was young I had what ns imagine is a common experience to many of you. The was prior to the age of common cell phones and also so meetings, or pick-ups ~ school, were reserved ahead of time and adhered to since there was no easy way to get a post to the human otherwise. One afternoon, after part after-school fun, ns was come be picked up by my mom who was always right ~ above time. However that day she wasn’t. And it doesn’t take much more than a couple of minutes of sitting over there for your mind to start playing part pretty nasty top on you. Walk she forget me? go she not love me anymore? walk something take place to her? doesn’t she know how alone i feel? how scared ns am? You watch every car coming roughly the corner with a desperation that boundaries on panic, and when you ultimately see that acquainted make and also model coming towards you the relief is palpable however so also is the anger the blossoms indigenous fear: “Where to be you? You said you’d be here.” mine mom more than likely wasn’t much more than 20 minute late, grounding in website traffic or something. However the fear that the promise the was made in love, the unbreakable vow the she would always be there, a promise the your life is predicated on, is actually not as solid as you thought, that are afraid doesn’t need lengthy to take host of us.

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We’ve all been there. And also we’ve all been there v God. Abraham was there with God. The slaves were there with God. And also it is in those moment that faith is all that we have to keep us going. This is a belief we struggle to preserve at times because in our human being relationships, poor things carry out happen. There are times as soon as something destructive happens and also your parental can’t choose you increase from college or, choose ten days ago, you’re no there for her parents to pick up. So it’s only organic to think the same thing applies to our relationship with God. The something have the right to happen and actually break the covenant, nullify that promise and also make it not so “everlasting.”

And that is in to that void, that void carried on by the horrors of the human being condition, the God sends Jesus Christ and also the gift the The Resurrection. To present us that the limits of oh my gosh playing ar stretch far beyond what we recognize our borders to be. For this reason we can see that also when us feel abandoned, alone and also afraid, even when us feel prefer we’re sit on a curb and also no one is coming to pick us up, God is quiet there, holding increase His end of the cheap by holding united state in love. That even in death, the most hopeless, irreversible instance we deserve to imagine, we space still fine within the bounds of his care. That even on the cross or in the tomb, God has actually not forsaken us. Jesus tries to alert his followers to this gift–three times in the Gospel of note he tries come teach his disciples around what was coming. However even the can’t get it with their special skulls due to the fact that it calls for such a radical re-understanding of just how God rewards the belief of his followers. Over there will quickly come a time, the is trying come tell them, once all your wishes are dashed, as soon as all your confidence feels forgotten, as soon as life end in what feels choose defeat no victory. There will certainly be the cross to bear and there will be pain and anguish and also grief, however there will certainly be resurrection too. “Jesus started to teach his disciples the the child of guy must undergo an excellent suffering, and be rejected…and be killed, and after three days, increase again.” Jesus’ fatality was “necessary” so the we might see that even in time of despair, times of difficult darkness, God’s agreement truly is everlasting. For it is the God who “gives life come the dead, and calls right into existence points that perform not exist,” that deserve to make a method out of no way, can transform hopelessness right into hope, darkness right into light. Faith way trusting in His promise regardless of all the odds. To think that the agreement God made v Abraham really does use to you and really is unbreakable; to think in the promise the the Resurrection so the you know also a shed life is no a life lost. That is the very same kernel of faith that enabled an entire race of world who were abused because that generation ~ generation and who quiet bear the scars of their subjugation come “hold on simply a small while longer.” it is to be able to say, not v naiveté or denial yet with honesty and also conviction, “God, I view no method out the this, I see no method forward. Your agreement feels broken, your guarantees feel forsaken and I feel forgotten, however ‘hoping versus hope,’ with tears and also fears and also anger and also grief and also pain and loss, though i sit in the very valley that the shadow of death, tho I will certainly sing: “everything will certainly be alright.