Main Text: Galatians 3:23-29 (Isaiah 65:1-9; Luke 8:26-39)
What was life like before faith? What is life like without faith? The truth is, there has always been faith in the world. It is not the lack of faith, but the object of that faith that defines its enduring nature or devastating failure. You can have faith in your abilities, but what happens when your abilities are restricted or diminished? You can have faith in your own values, but what happens when something of high value threatens another value forcing you to choose between them? How do you make a choice between your work or your family? How do you choose between your family and your personal integrity? The law was given as an imperfect disciplinarian to help us live in community, but when people faced conflicting values it led to inequality and injustice. In the effort to protect one thing, we can sacrifice other things just as important. We can make short term choices that have long term implications. This reading from Isaiah shows the consequences of following our own devices to protect ourselves. Faith came in the form of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Now we not only have an object of faith, but an example of how we are to live. In the Gospel reading, Jesus navigates competing values. On the one hand, the swine herders depended on those pigs economically. Nonetheless, Jesus was more concerned about the value of compassion and mercy. Before faith came, we were left to make those choices. Now that faith has come in Jesus Christ as both the object and example, we can now live God’s love by following in faith where Christ leads the way. It is the Spirit that will give us the ability. How does faith in Jesus Christ make a difference in the choices you make every day?