Faith in Many Forms

Saving feasts, crossings on troubled seas, bread and crumbs from heaven, cornerstones and fountain rocks: There is a shared poetry of details between the passages in Exodus and those in the gospel of Matthew. All of the gospels link God's deliverance as told in the Hebrew Bible (especially Passover) and the revelation in Jesus Christ. The author of Matthew, who was most likely from a conservative Jewish background, especially stresses this theme of "fulfillment"--the community that formed around Jesus' teaching, death, and resurrection were people of a "new covenant" that was entered through faith.

The scriptures tell of experiments in faith, of the many ways to walk the path. Included (thank God) are failed trials and wrong turns and the promise of grace to try again.


August 1: Servants of Bounty

Exodus 12:1-14, Romans 8:31-39, Matthew 14:13-21, Psalm 143:1-10

The execution of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12) marks a new stage of life and ministry for Jesus, and an intensified focus on him. Who is this Jesus, really? What does he stand for? There is wisdom for us in Jesus' withdrawal to a "lonely place" in response to the heightened public attention, in his seeking space for reflection and rest in the company of trusted friends (Mark 6:31). Also evident is the true ring of real life in how fleeting this space is.

Jesus responds with grace and compassion to the crowds that come, healing their sick. As the day draws to a close, the disciples make a pragmatic suggestion: There is no food here, and the people must eat. Send them away to fend for themselves. Jesus' response is to make the disciples waiters of the Spirit.

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Sojourners Magazine August 1993
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