Psalm 61 • Jeremiah 2:1-13 • Romans 1:16-25 • John 4:43-54
The priests did not ask, “Where is the Lord?” Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols. — Jeremiah 2:8
Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day. — Psalm 61:8
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. — Romans 1:16
“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” — John 4:48
In the Old Testament readings we learn that the Israelites have turned away from God and practice the worship of false gods. They have lost their focus on God and their need for the “refuge” and “heritage” obtained through prayer and acknowledgement of God. They have lost sight of the grace God has bestowed upon them.
As our own modern society continues to frustrate us, are we experiencing the same diversions experienced by the people of Israel? Are we unknowingly distancing ourselves from God and the salvation he offers?
Paul and John both tell us that through our belief we will receive God’s grace and salvation. Belief is difficult without proof. The royal official wanted proof that Jesus could heal his son. Jesus simply asked that he believe.
There is good news! We can find the strength and reinforcement needed to believe within our St. Paul’s community. The hundreds that come to worship, practice their faith, and care for one another are examples of our belief. The energy and faith in our community will impel us forward in our beliefs. The simple act of believing is a powerful force that will shape our lives and help maintain our focus on God.— Daryl Russell