Tuesday, August 10, 2010
"Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith."
The calm in the storm. People who not only can keep their heads in the midst of crisis or controversy, but who steadfastly project that "all shall be well" - these are the people who are the calm in the storm. When all the evidence points to the contrary - someone's kid is jail for some foolishness, someone is very sick, someone's spouse has left them, job loss, you name it. The world is falling down around your ears, but there may be that someone who projects - well - faith. Their presence, their touch, their words let you know that no matter what, all shall be well.
The centurion had no reason to think that Jesus would help him - after all he was a Roman soldier, considered the enemy by many. But the centurion had faith. With no more than a statement that his servant was sick, Jesus said, "I will come." Pressing on the soldier states his unworthiness, but also his unabated faith in Jesus, "speak the word and my servant will be healed." He was a soldier who took orders and who ordered others - he held power and knew how power worked. With all that, he humbled himself, asked for help, and knew that Jesus could help - all would be well.
I can imagine the centurion. A robust man, in uniform, used to people hopping to when he said, "Hop to it," calmly presenting himself before Jesus. He presents himself not on behalf of his family, his friends, or his superiors, but for his servant who "is in terrible distress." There is an urgency about him and yet a calm because he knows what Jesus' response will be.
To have that kind of faith. To have that kind of calm. When things are going haywire, stress abounds, and there seems to be no good solution, to hold on to faith - that is something to reach towards. When things are changing faster than we can imagine, when nothing seems to be the way it was or to make sense, to have faith that all shall be well is to live into the promises of our risen Christ. God takes care of us no matter what.
Teacher, we know the stories from the ancient texts. We know of centurions and widows and others who had faith that you could cure them, free them, save them. And we look around at our 21st century lives and think that our problems are unique or just so different from those ancient times that somehow you and your promises have been lost over the centuries. Fire within us, O Lord, a faith and passion that gives us calm in the midst of our storm. Help us to see that you are with us and always have been. Help us to know that all shall be well no matter what happens because you love us. Amen