RCL Year B Lent 2
Genesis 17:1-7 and 15-16, Psalm 22:22-30, Romans 4:13-25, Saint Mark 8:31-38

The First Lesson today gives us a Patriarch, Abraham, and a Covenant between the Lord and him. And the covenant is this. The Lord promises Abraham that he will be “the ancestor of a multitude of nations.”[1] About the only way forward for Abraham is to put one foot in front of another; in other words, his way forward is to live as though the promise is true. What avails him if he should do otherwise?

In the Epistle, Saint Paul calls it “faith” to live as though the promise is true. Also, Saint Paul says that Abraham “grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”[2]

Dear People of God, we find ourselves today in exactly the same position as the Patriarch Abraham. The Lord has made a covenant with us, the Lord has promised us in Baptism, that God has raised Jesus from the dead, “who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification,”[3] as Saint Paul describes that covenant in today’s Epistle.

And so, being in the same position as the Patriarch Abraham, we have no way forward except Abraham’s way forward. We put one foot in front of another, just as Abraham did, and we jump to no conclusion if we think of living in this way as living in faith.

Moving forward and living this way, we do what Abraham did. We hold the promise of our justification in mind just as Abraham held his paternity of many nations in mind, and we go on toward the very hope of our justification and salvation in the hands of a loving and merciful Creator.

I don’t think faith is more than this. But I don’t think that faith is less than this, either. Moving toward that hope believing that God is able to keep the covenant is to have faith. By believing every step of the way we do Abraham’s part, we do what we’ve been asked to do. And in the end, God will keep his covenant; God will keep his promise; and blessed will be those who carry their cross, as Jesus says in the Gospel, “when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”[4] For hope in the Lord brings fulfillment, the fulfillment that the Lord alone can give.

[1] Genesis 17:4.

[2] Romans 4:20-21.

[3] Romans 4:25.

[4] Saint Mark 8:38.