Last Sunday, Hebrews reminded us of what faith is. This Sunday wouldn’t be any different. Hebrews will lay bare for us how a liberated faith worked in the life of others and invites us to look at Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. It is he who makes possible all that was thought to be impossible - for he, too, had a liberated faith and so he found God to be trustworthy and capable of all things.
It will interest you to know that Christians are often called the people of possibilities because we believe in the possibilities of a future with God. And because we sincerely believe that with God, all things are possible, we freely take on the task of God, and freely participate in God’s creative agenda.
We have come to believe that if others can experience the freedom to which God invites us, we are obligated to freely share our stories with them. Over the past several weeks, we have been talking about Lake Elkhorn Middle School (LEMS) and our School Supply Drive in support of the students. Oakland Mills High School (OMHS) is presently hosting the Cy Paumier SAT Summer Camp. Last Sunday, we had representatives from Saint Luke Youth Center (SLYC) worship and preach at Christ Church. Amanda Gardner Talbot, the Executive Director, reminded us in her sermon of a “faith that has legs.” That is a liberated faith. And this faith is liberated because it can freely walk.
The interesting thing about our outreach is that we are not required to do anything. However, being a part of the story of LEMS, OMHS, SLYC and many others evolves from the idea that giving alms, and in fact giving, in itself, is part of our contribution towards the creative tasks of God. More than that, we are, by our acts, affirming that we believe in the future God has for each child and each person - and it, indeed, takes a liberated faith to embrace this idea.
A liberated faith is not one compelled by tradition or custom - for these hold us captive, requiring us to build treasure where thieves can steal, or moths can destroy. A liberated faith is one that recognizes itself as the beginning of freedom that renews the whole of life and overcomes the world. It requires you to offer no sacrifices or offerings for sins. For the Lord says, sacrifices have I not desired, but a pure heart - a heart that is willing to will one thing, which is to be obedient and not rebellious.
A liberated faith makes us the free masters of all things, and subject only to one thing - love. It is this love that makes us ministering servants of all people and free subjects to everyone. In other words, a liberated faith honors you with a freedom that makes you the master of all people and the subject of love. And being the subject of love makes you a servant of all, for God’s treasured future is dependent on those who are servants of all and masters of none.
A liberated faith brings us into the deepest truth that says we are in the image of an unlimited, unrestricted, unimaginable love. And we dare not forget that, for the moment we forget that religion becomes a shield or a closed refuge instead of a way to boldly throw ourselves into a harsh world knowing that that is precisely where we will discover a generous God. The moment we forget that is when we falsely come to believe that we cannot share God’s table of welcome with others because of their belief - as happened at the recently ended Lambeth Conference. (more on the conference later).
I am an optimist. I know we will get through all our deepest challenges because we are a people of possibilities and that a liberated faith awakens trust in the still unrealized possibilities in human beings - in oneself, in other people, and in God’s future with us.
The point is there’s an unbelievable potential in each of us. And for that, I am reminded that God doesn’t move mountains, but God gives us the faith with which to move mountains. Because of our liberated faith, the hitherto unexplored creative powers of God are thrown open to men and women - people like you and me - to use that creative power for good, for changing lives, and for the building of God’s kingdom.
To have faith in a God of unconditional love is to realize how intimately close God is. He is so close that we often forget His presence. In his own day, Jesus was immersed in a violent culture, a culture of conflict and anxiety. But he also knew of the deeper truth hidden beneath the surface of human judgment; namely, that this broken and anxious world is oozing with God. The same Jesus invited us to have faith, to believe that the reign of God is among us and within us, he reminds us that it is for the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom - that treasured space where you feed not on your own abundance but on the abundance of God.
A liberated faith makes you vulnerable to love, and to love is to risk being rejected by the other. God takes a risk in loving us because the gift of divine love bears with it the possibility of refusal. God’s love respects the independence and freedom of the other because love does not seek to control, dominate, or manipulate; rather, love seeks to empower the other for the flourishing of life. A liberated faith trusts in the power of love within us to do incredible things because this love is God’s unlimited power.
God doesn’t move mountains but gives us the faith with which to move mountains. Your treasure is a liberated faith that knows there’s no mountain too big or too small. Hold on to it. Nurture it to love God for His sakes only.
God’s desire is for you to have a liberated faith.