St. James' Episcopal Church
Goshen, Indiana

Our 158th Year

Friday, October 5, 2007


Sermon for October 7th, 2007

Arthur Hadley

Habakkuk lived in a terrible time; war, destruction, violence, strife, contention, the law is slack and justice never goes forth. The leaders of the people in Jerusalem had been led away in chains to be slaves in Babylon, the Temple had been destroyed. And even as Habakkuk was speaking, the Chaldeans were about to conquer the Babylonian empire. Life was looking grim, and where was God?

We live in a like time. Babylon is in a most un civil war, suicide bombers killing themselves in order to kill others. Those that are paid to help keep order, are themselves lawless. Burma is suppressing the Buddhist monks who rallied for freedom. Africa is rife with genocide. The world is a frightful place, and Where is God?

But still there is a vision of better times; the vision will never die, it will surely come. The soul of the righteous shall live by faith.

Jesus was asked by his disciples to give them some faith. Give them some of his faith. And Jesus told them that if they have just a tiny bit of faith it would be enough for them to up root a tree and plant it in the sea. Just a tiny bit of faith is enough.

The press is telling of Mother Teresa writing that she does not feel close to God. She sees the poverty, sickness, and suffering and asks, Where is God? But there is that tiny bit of faith, and the soul of the righteous shall live by faith. Even in doubt and despair, even in the dark night of the soul when seeking God can only be a question, “Where is God?” The tiny bit of faith, the size of a mustard seed, is enough. They shall live by faith.

Jesus shared that faith with us. Paul commends Timothy for his sincere faith, a faith that first lived in his grandmother Lois. Lois shared her faith, and that faith was strengthened and renewed by the ministry of Paul. Shared Faith.

As a priest I am expected to teach religious values and beliefs. I can give you information about the Bible, the Church and the world. I can tell you repeatedly what I believe. I ask you to repeat the Creed as a statement of religious belief. Credo - I believe. Knowledge, beliefs are teachable.

Faith is some how given, not taught. Perhaps Caught. Timothy has faith that was first his grandmother Lois’s. And that faith was increased, strengthened, confirmed by Paul.

Somehow even in her dark night of the soul Mother Teresa was able to continue to minister to the terrible poverty, sickness, and degradation. She was able to up root the trees of suffering and throw them into the sea, even when she had only a tiny bit of faith. There are some who hear of Mother Teresa’s doubts, and longing to hear God, and then say she was a hypocrite to continue doing the works of mercy and love for God’s sake. Not at all, it is in those times of doubt and despair that continuing to have hope in God is the true act of Faithfulness.

In these times of awful daily news: from Africa, Burma, Babylon, Washington and the world, we can ask Where is God? And at the same time know that Mother Teresa and Habakkuk in their own times asked the same question. Where is God? And we know the answer from Habakkuk, and Mother Teresa: “He whose soul is not upright shall fail; but the righteous shall live by faith.”

We were made Righteous by Christ, and we were given Faith by Christ, and were are given Salvation by Christ.

Thanks be to God.

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