In this long season after Pentecost the main theme coming through our scripture readings and especially the gospel readings has been faith. The readings have been purposefully selected in this regard by Mother Church so as to encourage her children to recognize the need to grow in faith. From Advent we began a journey following the life of Jesus so that we focus on the coming of Jesus as Saviour and also on the belief that Jesus will come again as Judge of the earth. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus. During Epiphany-tide we continue to celebrate God becoming not so much man as he is human; this means themes such as enlightenment, the Presence of God, and the Impartiality of God’s salvation are highlighted. During Lent and Holy Week the need to follow Jesus and understand that such a following requires one to be and remain spirit filled is crucial. This understanding is not to nullify the fact that we are to live disciplined lives as Christians. There is that tendency for some to think that the presence of the Holy Spirit in us will automatically take care of everything for us. We are to understand and be convicted that when we experience life in its most painful of ways we are not to give up on our faith in God. Easter then brings the glorious assurance that it will indeed be well with the souls of all who place their trust in God. Neither sin nor the grave is capable of conquering the people of God if we are truly trusting Him. Our celebration of Pentecost seals this journey of following Jesus’ life with the assurance of being Spirit filled. We are not at all expected to live out our Christian faith on our own. The Blessed and Glorious Trinity is celebrated the Sunday after Pentecost in acknowledgement of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost being three in one and one in three. None works apart from the other.
What then is this faith that we speak of? This faith to believe in Jesus and to follow his life and lifestyle on a daily basis is God given (Romans 12:3). God gives us faith but we are also expected to grow in faith. This means we do not blame God for not having enough faith. Our God is perfect in everything He does, therefore He has given each of us faith in accordance with the purpose He has created each of us for. Unfortunately there are some who construct their own faith and consider it to be given by God but this can be easily tested when placed alongside the teachings of the Bible, sound reasoning, and also the rich history of teachings of Mother Church throughout the centuries. The colour green is used in our Churches, except for when special occasions may occur, and this green is a symbol of growth and development which is always so easily visible in the world of vegetation.
Being this close to the end of the Church’s year it is only fitting that we ask ourselves whether or not we have been growing in faith. Having begun by following the life of Jesus that means the foundation was laid for us. Have we built on this foundation? Are we any further along in our understanding, in our conviction, in our confidence and self-worth? Do we still believe that we are not important so we will remain quiet, unseen by leaving quickly after service, and uncommitted to any ministry that we think is for “dem.” How have you grown and where are you in your journey of faith? Some of us may not identify with some of these questions but think of it this way, if we can recognize no difference in our spiritual walk now in comparison to ten years ago, we have not grown. According to natural law, anything that does not grown is dead. This is what death is, it is evidence of a life that no longer exists. I pray for all of us to grow in faith. I pray for all of us to have a desire to grow in faith. I pray for our faith to bring about change within our fellowship. I pray for our fellowship to bring about change in our community and our federation. I pray that we will discern quickly whether or not our faith is constructed by us or given to us by God. I pray that sooner than later we will take seriously God’s word recorded for us in Hebrews 11:6 - “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”