Formed for Faithfulness: The Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

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Show Notes

In this fifth week of “Ordinary” (or “Normal”) time, Case reflects on how trust is a reflection of God’s character and how trusting one another in society often mirrors God’s faithfulness in our relationships.

Nuance’s Formed for Formation is a weekly liturgy to encourage all of us to be faithful to Christ in the public square. Join Case Thorp as he follows the Church calendar through the reading of Scripture, prayer, and short reflections on faith in all facets of public life.

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Episode Transcript

Summer, normal time, is about growth. Like the green grass never seems cut, so too should our spiritual lives from all that the sun, the S -O -N, is eliminating. New life in this season is to blossom all around.

A reading from the ninth Psalm, verses nine through 20. 

Psalm 9:9-20

9:9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

9:10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

9:11 Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion. Declare his deeds among the peoples.

9:12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

9:13 Be gracious to me, O LORD. See what I suffer from those who hate me; you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,

9:14 so that I may recount all your praises, and, in the gates of daughter Zion, rejoice in your deliverance.

9:15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught.

9:16 The LORD has made himself known, he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

9:17 The wicked shall depart to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.

9:18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever.

9:19 Rise up, O LORD! Do not let mortals prevail; let the nations be judged before you.

9:20 Put them in fear, O LORD; let the nations know that they are only human. Selah

Trust is the foundation of any thriving society. Without it, relationships fracture, institutions crumble, and chaos ensues. Psalm 9 emphasizes the importance of trust in the Lord, portraying him as a refuge and stronghold for the oppressed and troubled. This trust is not blind. It is based on the consistent and righteous character of God.

Christ followers, we remind our neighbors of God’s sovereignty. Psalm 9 reflects this by showing God is the ultimate judge and protector. Verses 9 and 10 declare that God is a refuge and has never forsaken those who seek him. Trust in society mirrors this divine trust. When people trust each other, it is often because they see a reflection of God’s faithfulness in their relationships.

We remind others that as people, we are totally depraved. Total depravity suggests that sin affects all parts of human life. Without trusting God, human societies are susceptible to corruption and injustice. Verses 15 to 17 illustrate the consequences of wickedness. Quote, the nations have fallen into the pit they have dug. This imagery shows how societal collapse ensues when trust in God and just practices are abandoned. 

Trust, friends, is a reflection of God’s character. Trust in society should reflect God’s faithfulness and justice. Just as God is a refuge, individuals and institutions should strive to be reliable and just. This builds a trustworthy society where people feel safe and valued.

When trust is broken, society faces dire consequences, much like the nations described. Leaders and communities should recognize the importance of integrity and accountability to prevent societal decay. In our communities, may we foster relationships that mirror the covenant trust we have with God. This involves commitment, transparency, mutual support, ensuring that trust is upheld at all levels.

Job 38:1-11

38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind:

38:2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

38:3 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.

38:5 Who determined its measurements–surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?

38:6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone

38:7 when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

38:8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?–

38:9 when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band,

38:10 and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors,

38:11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?

Let us pray. Heavenly Father, we come before you in awe of your majesty and power, reminded by your words in Job 38 of your sovereignty over all creation. You laid the earth’s foundations, determined its measurements, and set the limits of the sea. You command the morning and know the storehouses of snow and hail. Every detail of the universe is under your control and care. Lord, in this vast expanse of your creation, we find comfort and assurance in knowing that you are in control. When our hearts are troubled and our minds filled with doubt, remind us of your mighty works and your unchanging nature. Help us to trust in your wisdom, even when we do not understand the paths before us. Just as you questioned Job, where were you when I laid the earth foundations? We recognize our own limitations and the greatness of your knowledge. Teach us, teach us to surrender our fears and anxieties to you, knowing that you hold all things together in the face of life’s uncertainties. May we rest in the certainty of your goodness and faithfulness. In the powerful name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Mark 4:35-41

4:35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”

4:36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him.

4:37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.

4:38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

4:39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.

4:40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

4:41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”