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The Most Comforting Word

... repent and believe in the Gospel
Mark 1:12-15

Sermon Topic Faith

Sermon Week First Sunday of Lent Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 1:15


Dr. Wilfred Funk who became famous as a composer of dictionaries, once was asked to list the ten most expressive words in the English language. He gave the following answer:

The most bitter word is "alone."
The most reverent word is "mother."
The most tragic word is "death."
The most beautiful word is "love."
The most cruel word is "revenge."
The most peaceful word is "tranquil."
The saddest word is "forgotten."
The warmest word is "friendship."
The coldest word is "no."
The most comforting word is "faith."

We could play endless games with Wilfred Funk's list. We could make our own lists, for example, and discover that no two lists were exactly the same. We could go on and on, defending our own lists and challenging others. There would be plenty of room for debate. But, I suspect that in most cases we would be able to see elements of truth in each other's choices. For example, wouldn't we all agree that Wilfred Funk's selection of "faith" as the most comforting word in the English language rings true to some degree.

What is faith? Faith means acknowledging that God can tell us truths beyond our human power of reasoning. Faith means accepting truth on God's authority. You may have heard people say, "I have been a success in business and made lots of money because I had faith that if I lived a good life God would not let me down." That isn't faith, it's self-assurance; it's egoism; it's self-righteousness. It is blasphemy to imagine that you can take God into your business as a junior partner, so to speak. Moreover, it is entirely possible for good, right-living, Church-going people to fail in business. It happens all the time. Faith is not born of self-assurance, egoism and self-righteousness. Our Christian faith centers in a Person. Our Christian faith centers in Jesus Christ who is Truth Itself. Our Christian faith centers in Jesus Christ who is the Word made flesh.

There is no escape from the reality that the riddle of life cannot be solved from within ourselves. The person who [...]

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