A little faith goes a long way is our Lord’s point in the gospel. A mustard seed’s-worth has miraculous potential. The patience, tenacity, and endurance required for the life of faith are the blessings received in water and the word (holy baptism), bread and wine (holy communion), the word read and proclaimed in this assembly. Anticipate them. Receive them with thanksgiving.
Readings and Psalm
Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
Wicked surround the righteous; wait for the Lord
Commit your way to the Lord; put your trust in the Lord. (Ps. 37:5)
2 Timothy 1:1-14
Guard the treasure entrusted to you: faith and love in Christ
Faith the size of a mustard seed
First Reading: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
Injustice and violence in the time leading up to the Babylonian exile move this prophet to lament: How can a good and all-powerful God see evil in the world and seemingly remain indifferent? God answers by proclaiming that the wicked will perish, but the righteous will live by faith.1The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.
2O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
3Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
4So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.
2:1I will stand at my watchpost,
and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
2Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
3For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.
4Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.
Psalm: Psalm 37:1-9
Commit your way to the Lord; put your trust in the Lord. (Ps. 37:5)1Do not be provoked by | evildoers;
do not be jealous of those | who do wrong.
2For they shall soon wither | like the grass,
and like the green grass | fade away.
3Put your trust in the Lord| and do good;
dwell in the land and | find safe pasture.
4Take delight | in the Lord,
who shall give you your | heart’s desire.
5Commit your way to the Lord; put your trust | in the Lord,
and see what | God will do.
6The Lord will make your vindication as clear | as the light
and the justice of your case like the | noonday sun.
7Be still before the Lord and wait | patiently.
Do not be provoked by the one who prospers, the one who succeeds in | evil schemes.
8Refrain from anger, leave | rage alone;
do not be provoked; it leads on- | ly to evil.
9For evildoers shall | be cut off,
but those who hope in the Lord shall pos- | sess the land.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-14
written from Paul to Timothy is a personal message of encouragement. In
the face of hardship and persecution, Timothy is reminded that his faith
is a gift of God. He is encouraged to exercise that faith with the help
of the Holy Spirit.1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
2To Timothy, my beloved child:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors
did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5I
am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your
grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in
you. 6For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
8Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. 13Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
Gospel: Luke 17:5-10
On the way to
Jerusalem, Jesus instructs his followers about the power of faith and
the duties of discipleship. He calls his disciples to adopt the attitude
of servants whose actions are responses to their identity rather than
works seeking reward.5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6The
Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could
say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it
would obey you.
7“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 8Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 9Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’ ”