Sermon 7th August

Readiong today Hebrews 11, 1-3 and 8-16, Luke 2, 32-40


“Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance of what we do not see.”

I wonder, how often you are asked about your faith? Or speak of it? I would hope, as Christians, we would be asked reasonably frequently what we believe, or at least be challenged for having a faith in the light of much of what goes on in the world, or even to be accused of being a hypocrite perhaps, if you wear your faith on your sleeve, for those of less understanding.

But when I say are you asked about your faith, rather than your belief in Jesus, as such, it’s the whole concept of faith I wonder about, in terms of people’s interest.

We live in a society in which, particularly with social media and multiple news channels of all political persuasions, the general public seems to perhaps have lost the concept of any sort of faith, religious or otherwise.

People used to have faith, for instance, in politicians and leaders, they used to believe what they said, (on the whole) they used to feel that their promises, their plans were genuine, that they really were leading the people, the country. But fake news, constant lies, changing of policy, corruption and the like has destroyed people’s faith in that sort of leadership, leaving a vacuum which rapidly gets filled up with opinion and gossip, and sadly a lack of genuine leadership.

I wonder how much the often talked of decline in the churches is a symptom of a society that has generally lost faith in anything. Indeed, the church itself, in recent years has been revealed to not always have acted justly or correctly when people’s faith in church leaders has led to abuse of that trust, or when the church has failed to recognise all people as equal, no matter their creed, colour, race, gender, sexual orientation or social background, despite claiming to be inclusive of all and caring and loving of all.

Our Hebrews reading said faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance of what we do not see.

And in a secular world in which little hope is offered to the majority of the population and there is little talk of vision of the future, of those things we have yet to see, is there any wonder that faith is a little of an alien concept to most?

So when I ask how often you are asked about your faith, or speak of it- I mean how often are you asked, or do you offer, a sense of hope that people can have confidence in, or a vision of something better than today that people can have an assurance in.

 How often is your faith so obvious, so blatantly part of your life, so noticeably different from those around you that people, actually are interested, or enquire because they recognise something they perhaps lack in their lives?

Of course, our faith is in Jesus Christ, and all he revealed about the grace, mercy and love of God and the unimaginable, almost incomprehensible concept of eternal life. What we hope for, what we can, through Christ, have confidence to hope for is that certainty of love and forgiveness, that the world can be a better place, that ultimately love conquers all, that God’s purposes are for good, and that, incredibly each and every one of us is loved by the God of creation.

And, through Christ we can have assurance in those things we cannot see, that perfect future that Jesus showed us a glimpse of in the kingdom of heaven coming to earth, that ultimate victory of good over evil, that promise of a life with our creator in eternity, in a way we cannot fathom, cannot see, and yet have the assurance, through our faith in Christ that will be.

“Where your treasure is”, Jesus said in our Luke reading, “there will be your heart also”. Your faith, your belief in Christ as Lord and Saviour, your knowledge of God’s love for you, your love of God is the greatest treasure you could ever possess and yet, often in the face of a faithless secular world, it seems we are often afraid to reveal it, we hide it away, perhaps scared that we’ll lose it- which is an odd concept, because there’s apparently few people who want to steal it and it is such a rich gift that sharing it does not diminish it by even the smallest amount.


But, and I may be wrong, but it has to be part of my calling, I actually think there are those out there for whom there is either a suppressed or not yet recognised desire for faith. Who yearn for that ability to have confidence in some sort of hope, for the assuredness of a vision for the future, of what they cannot yet see? For often, I have found, people seem to be searching, for new experiences, for some sort of spirituality, for something that is deeper than the perceived banality of their lives, for an escape from the hopelessness of depression, the endlessness of addiction, the spiral of corruption, the endless scrabble for wealth or burden of debt, the continual lust for satisfaction and pleasure, the seduction of power, all those things that perhaps hold out great promise, but ultimately end up being empty of hope. The purses that wear out, the treasure that decays.

Your treasure, your faith has been gifted to you by the God of love. And all God asks is that you love in return, to love God and love others as yourself. And with help of the Holy Spirit, you can love that much, if you are prepared to truly be open to the Spirit’s prompting, and then you will know that rich desire to share the faith you treasure, so that others may know that same love you have come to know.


And if we were all able to do that, then what hope there would be offered for the world, what assurance of those things we have yet to see would be set in people’s hearts. And what a different world we would see.

For we would see a little more of the kingdom of heaven.

And surely, that is a good thing to treasure.