by Reverend Amanda
One of my mentors had a habit of just taking his binder with his sermon and leaving worship and going home for the day. Sometimes this would happen multiple weeks in a row. Other times it wouldn’t happen for months. Sometimes it would happen at the very beginning of worship and other times it would happen in the middle or towards the end. He was quite good about keeping me on my toes. After the first time it happened, he told me that this was his plan because he wanted to teach me how to go with the flow and to be prepared for anything and about the importance of flexibility. But he also added that he was confident that I could handle it and if he wasn’t confident in my abilities he wouldn’t be doing this.
I did not necessarily share his confidence in my own abilities. I still hadn’t mastered my fears of public speaking. I was still unsure of my knowledge or that I had anything of value to share with others. But over the course of that year, his confidence in me and my calling, his faith in my ministry, grew my self-confidence and I started to believe that I could handle it and I did. This is what having faith is all about. This is what we see at work in the account of Christ’s first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana.
Mary, Jesus’ mother, had the same type of confidence in Christ and his abilities and that confidence would be what convinced him that it was time start revealing his Messiahship to the world. She became the catalyst for the miracle that Christ didn’t really want to do. Her nonchalant confidence and faith in him was what pushed him to begin his ministry. This type of faith is not always so easy to have in ourselves, in our communities, or in our own personal worlds.
It is so much easier to doubt than it is to have confidence. It is easier to question and not try than it is to have faith that perhaps God is doing something great. Martin Luther wrote, “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times”. Mary had so much faith in her son that even though he seemed unsure whether he should perform such a miracle she turned around to walk away and confidently said, “Do whatever he tells you.” She didn’t even blink an eye when he expressed some hesitation. She believed in the miracle that he was, the mission that God sent him to do, and the power of God that would be expressed through him.
This faith, her confidence, encouraged the first sign, the first miracle in Jesus’ career as the Messiah and helped to set into motion the acts of God that would come through Christ. We are called to have such confidence in the presence and work of God in the people around us, in this world despite the state of the world. We are called to have faith because the power of our faith can help to change the course of people’s lives. Our faith can give us courage. However, our faith in the work of God in and through others can also give them the confidence to live out the call of God in their lives as well.
My mentor’s faith gave me the courage to push through my insecurities and fears even when I felt like giving up and quitting. I faced harsh criticisms, sexism, loss, financial struggles and woes, exhaustions, and illness that year and if it weren’t for his confidence in me and God’s work through me, I likely would have just given up. We are called to commit to being devoted to God and what he is doing, trusting that though we do not see his full plans, that he is working and doing something new and worthwhile. We are called to be like the anonymous prophet of Isaiah 62, trusting that God is changing the course of history in this world as he brings us back into full relationship with him.
I hear the prophet singing out, “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch”. This is the song that brought me through times of doubt and fear. This is the song that gives expression to a trust in the important work of God that brought the Israelites out of Babylon to rebuild in a land they hadn’t known or seen for generations. And today, with our struggles, our fears, our desire to give up, this is the song of confidence and trust we are asked to sing so loudly that it proclaims confidence that God is working today through humanity.
This confidence when expressed becomes the motivation that we all need to face even the worst fears realized, as Christ did on the cross, all to make this world a more peaceful and loving place. So let us join together to rededicate ourselves to the God of hope and to place our confidence in God and one another as we journey together seeking God’s mission as he reshapes this world bringing to full realization his relationship with humanity. Let’s pray, work, and actively seek out God because he is always there to inspire our hearts. You may just find courage for your life, and become that inspiring force in the life of someone else.
 Martin Luther, J. Theodore Mueller (2003). “Commentary on Romans”, p.17, Kregel Publications.
 John 2:5, RSV.
 Isaiah 62:1, NRSV.