Homily: March 12, 2017 – Life is a Journey – Rev. Phil Boelter

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Life is a journey.
No one knew this better than Abraham.

Abraham was on a journey.

Before God appeared to him,
Before he became the founder of three world religions-
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,
Before God brought forth from his loins 
the very long line of descendants which culminated in Messiah Jesus,

Abraham was on a journey.

What can we learn from Abraham’s  journey?

God believed in Abraham- 
God chose Abraham.

In our first reading this morning
God challenges Abraham to move
all the way across the Fertile Crescent
From Ur of the Chaldees
way over in the far east –
To Palestine – the Holy Land.

Second,
God challenged Abraham to return the favor.

God says to him-
“I believe in you, Abraham.
I’m sending you out to receive
And to become a blessing
To the whole world.”

Abraham,
Says God,
So, Won’t you believe in me?

The biggest lesson in Abraham’s life in this:

God believes in us-
And so God asks us to trust,
To believe in God.

Faith is not about what you believe-
It’s about Whom you believe in.

I grew up being taught as a Lutheran
That faith was about intellectual assent-
Just believe this catechism.

The blue Luther’s catechism-
Here it is.

It’s full questions and answers and theology and commands
And suggestions.

All fine stuff- but not very handy as a guide for a journey

What I should’ve been handed 
was a road map.

Something practical-
To help me get from point a to point b.

Life with God
Is not a rule book-
Or a set of intellectual propositions to which we are called to give our assent.

Life with God is more like a journey-
Like this roadmap
An experience-
An adventure.

The gateway to that journey 
Is trust in God-
In Greek the word is pistis-

The Apostle Paul
Got it
And he explained it in his own convoluted way-
In the book of Romans.

For this reason it depends on faith, 
in order that the promise may rest on grace
 and be guaranteed to all his descendants, 
to those who share the faith of Abraham 
(for he is the father of all of us,
as it is written, 
“I have made you the father of many nations”) —
in the presence of the God in whom he believed, 
who gives life to the dead 
and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Faithfulness.

God sfaithfulness to us
And ours to God.

God believes in us.

Will we believe in God?

Will we make the choice to enter into that journey with God?

It’s that simple.

From the old green hymnal
The Lutheran Book of Worship
Here is a prayer
expressing  the essence of this journey: 

Lord God, 
you have called your servants to ventures 
of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown. 
Give us faigo out with courage, not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Amen.