Faith and Community
Written by Matthew Bloss
Texas ESC corps member
The Old Testament reading for today is arguably one of the most important, or at least memorable, from the whole of the Hebrew Bible. This is the moment where God makes his covenant with Abram (now Abraham), that he will make him “the ancestor of a multitude of nations” and that through Abraham God will redeem the whole world. This one singular moment will go on to set the tone for the Holy Scriptures, to Joseph, to Moses, to David, and ultimately to Jesus Christ.
The story surrounding Abraham shows us the effect an individual can have in shaping the communities around them. Not only does God promise to redeem and save Abraham’s present community, he also uses him to forge an incalculable number of new communities. While it’s true we as individuals, in this day, are likely not being used to the extent God used Abraham, I would venture that all of us have a community that stands to benefit from our presence. Whether it’s our job, our family, our roommates, or our friends, we all exist in communities. We may lead these communities, we may support them, we may simply be a part of them, or we may wonder if we are even seen amongst them. No matter our role though, I believe God has equipped all of us to effect these communities in a holy way. Saint Paul says in today’s epistle that God did not bestow his promise on Abraham because of his extraordinary deeds or capabilities, but simply through “the righteousness of faith”. As a Christian I believe that this same promise is extended to all of us through the person of Jesus Christ. If we seek faith in Him, God will use us in the same way he used Abraham, even if not to the same extent.
This may seem like an intimidating process. The difficulty of faith aside, accepting responsibility for other people is never an easy thing. Know though, that our decision to take on this responsibility does not leave us solely “in charge” of other’s fate. As God blessed Abraham and gave him his charge, so to do did he bless Abraham’s wife, Sarah, giving her the same charge. The Lord says: “I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Abraham was not alone is his charge, and neither are we. Just as God seeks to use us to help and encourage our communities, he seeks to use others to help and encourage us.
In this Lenten Season I encourage all of you to pray and seek out a relationship with God. If we are to bring good to our communities we must seek that which emanates all goodness. By seeking God, we open ourselves up to the same faith that God saw in Abraham. Through that faith, God will redeem, remake, and perfect the entire world. May God bless you and use you for his salvific plan. Amen.