Devotional for the week of September 27th, 2020
Today’s gospel questions what it means to believe in something. Belief can be exhibited by actions or in words, but true belief is displayed when the two contradict each other. We may say we do not believe in monsters under our bed. However, if upon hearing a noise underneath us at night, we clutch the blanket a little tighter around us, do we still claim to not believe in monsters? Believing in something or someone does more than affect our mind. It influences our behavior. It informs our actions and changes our character.
Believing in Jesus is not a cognitive experience alone. If it were, we’d be like the second son who professes to do the will of the father, but doesn’t. Rather, our actions are the mirrors of our belief, reflecting our faith outward. This is why worship is structured to rehearse our patterns of behavior for the world. In worship, we gather to practice accountability, interdependence, passing the peace, and turning toward God. Our faith shapes us to live in the world according to God’s principles of justice, mercy, and kindness.
When we believe in something, we give authority to it, whether the belief is spoken or enacted. This is why the words “I believe in you” before a feat of courage are often so powerfully effective. Knowing that someone believes in you bestows authority and strength. It moves you from thought to action, making it possible to boldly live into whatever is believed of you.
God believes in you. This does not mean there is a divine being out there who merely believes that you exist. This is not a passive form of believing. God believes in you and gives you authority to live boldly as a disciple of Jesus. Just as Jesus’ authority came from God, so does your authority to do what you have been sent to do. “You can do it,” God encourages. “I believe in you!”
Devotional message and art based on the readings for September 27th, reprinted from sundaysandseasons.com.
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