October Themes

Faith Changes Seasons, but Christ Remains the Same

Our life of faith has seasons to it. Sometimes we feel like things are new and something is being built. Sometimes we hit a wall and our life of faith feels more like wrestling. It's not always easy or as clean as it once felt. And then there are seasons after times of struggle where we find ourselves returning to the essence of Christ-For-Us. Our questions might not all be answered and we might still struggle, but the Spirit of God has worked within us to anchor us to the necessity of Jesus, his cross, and his empty tomb. This October, we celebrate how Christ walks with us in all seasons of our life. Though our faith may grow strong or grow feeble, Jesus walks beside us and is faithful to his promises.

October 2, 2022 - Faith Received

In 2 Timothy 1, we hear how Timothy grew up in the faith. His mother and grandmother passed the faith on to him and how here Timothy is, on the brink of sharing his faith with the world around him. Paul, the writer of this letter to Timothy, says, "Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me." Paul was also his teacher.

Luke 17:1-10 shares the noteworthy, "Show us how to increase our faith," after which Jesus says, "If you had faith as small as a mustard seed, then..." We too had a beginning in this life of faith, even if that's today. And we too have asked, "How can my faith grow?" Today we can contemplate the gift of faith, how the gift came to us, and how it even now centers us on who Jesus is.

Readings: 2 Tim. 1:1-14; Luke 17:1-10

October 9, 2022 - Faith Shared

2 Tim. 2 speaks about Timothy's call to share his faith with others. It's a call to press on into what is known and believed, into what has been received as a gift. We too can hear the call to examine what we believe and come to a point of sharing something of it with others. In this stage of faith, we piece together what we've received in order to pass it on to others. For this to work, the received faith has to mean something to you for you to care to share the gift. A gift cherished becomes the gift shared.

In Luke 17:11-19, we meet the ten lepers who were healed. Only one returns to thank Jesus for the gift of healing. The calling stands for us, that we too would approach Jesus with thanksgiving for the gift of healing he has provided for our lives and stories, an eternal, everlasting healing through his work for us.

Readings: 2 Tim. 2:1-13; Luke 17:11-19

October 16, 2022 - When Faith is Not Easy

Sometimes our life of faith meets challenges. Maybe things don't make simple sense or an experience we've had feels like it wants to shatter our faith as we presently hold it. We are not alone in this. See the guidance spoken to Timothy in 2 Tim. 3:14-4:5, the charge to hold onto what was received, to appreciate the gift of the Scriptures, and to look ahead to the fulfillment of the promises of God. Yet in this, we struggle, we wrestle with God. (An accompanying reading for this Sunday is Gen. 32:22-30.) We notice how a persistent widow was celebrated by Jesus in a story he told. Stick with it, press on, wrestle with God, is what Jesus is getting at. This is a charge for us too, knowing the grace of Christ for us, we are challenged to wrestle with God who always remains, always stays true to his promises.

Readings: 2 Tim. 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8

October 23, 2022 - Faith That Becomes Simple Peace

There comes a stage of faith when there is simple resolution. We may still have unanswered questions or unresolved experiences, yet we find ourselves comforted by the gift, the necessity of Jesus for us. This is certainly true for Paul who is coming to terms with the end of his life in 2 Tim. 4. We see a peace beyond understanding in him, even though there is still struggle. And in the gospel reading, we meet the man who knew his sin and simply cried out, "Have mercy on me a sinner." His faith has been simplified to the only necessary thing: the gift of Jesus for him and with him.

Readings: 2 Tim. 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-17

October 30, 2022 - Faith That Changes Everything (Reformation Observed)

False, empty worship and empty living are called out by God in both readings today. And both readings reveal the grace of God -- that our life is stained like a deep red blotch, but God will make us white and clean. And, for the Luke 19 reading about Zacchaeus, we see how the arrival of Jesus reorients Zacchaeus's life. In both cases, there is a call out of darkness and into life. We celebrate the same gift on our celebration of Reformation Day, noting how the declaration of grace through Jesus Christ has indeed changed our relationship with God, with ourselves, and with the world around us. Being justified with God (brought back, declared to be in proper relationship), we see ourselves gathered around the only necessary thing: Jesus.

Readings: Is. 1:10-18; Luke 19:1-10