Your Faith Has Saved You
Sermon by Rev. Steven McClelland on Luke 7: 36 – 8:3. Focus on the faith of an unnamed woman who shows us how to come to Jesus. Check out Kelly Crandell and the choir as they sing: You are Holy!
Your faith has saved you.” A simple statement, yet extraordinarily complex. This has to be one of the most challenging of Jesus’ sayings. What is faith in this story? What is salvation for this sinner from the city?
Lest we forget, we have been primed for this story, ready and wondering who will be the next glutton and drunkard, tax collector and sinner, with whom Jesus chooses to be friends (Luke 7:34).
Consider the context. Consider who will hear these words of his. Simon’s house is filled with dinner guests and one unnamed sinful woman. Why is she unnamed? Because in the next verses of our text Luke writes: “Some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.”
Why does she go to Simon’s house? Maybe she heard Jesus’ sermon in Nazareth and believed him. Maybe she heard the sermon on the plain and thought “blessed are the poor” could be true. Maybe she heard about her sister in faith, the widow of Nain, and trusted that if Jesus could bring her back from the certain death of being husband-less and son-less, Jesus just might, for a few brief minutes, be her friend. Any maybe, she heard about those other women, who accompanied Jesus, who served Jesus, and thought, “I can do that, too.”
Her decision to go to the house, her determination to enter into where she was not wanted or welcome, her desire to be like the other women who followed Jesus, were all acts of faith – Because faith is also the belief that you are worthy of salvation. You are worthy to sit at the table with the Lord. You are worthy of touching, and being touched by, God. You are worthy of belonging. You are worthy of being called a disciple. You are not who the Simon’s of the world say you are. You are a beloved child of God.
Karoline Lewis writes in her blog: Your Faith Has Saved You – About her first “call” to ministry, and how she was removed from her position because the new “sheriff in town” decreed that no woman should be teaching men. About how her family all but rejected her for her “newfangled beliefs” about a God who wanted and needed all, even women, to bring about the kingdom of God. About how she grew up indoctrinated about what was right and wrong, who was in and out, whom God loved and didn’t love.
Like Simon the Pharisee, so many of us are so certain about whom God includes – who is worthy of God’s love. One has to wonder – if we spent even as much time embodying the faith of the women in Luke 7:36-50 as we do figuring out those who don’t do faith as they should, how much closer the church would be to living in the kingdom of God here and now.
Behind the story of this unnamed woman, which makes her every woman, every man, and every child who has been told for whatever reason that they don’t belong at the Lord’s table, that they are not invited into the kingdom of God, who suppose or assume, that the good news of God does not apply to them.
So, every once in awhile, someone like the woman in our story comes along and says no… and yes. Someone who says “no” to those who would keep her at bay; “no” to those who pull away when she enters the room; “no” to those who snicker and sneer and snarl when she dares to express her love.
And someone who says “yes.” Someone who says, “yes” to Jesus because she believes he sees her. Favors her. Regards her. Because to be seen, to be favored, to be regarded is salvation itself. Someone who says, “yes” to herself – “I belong at this table, too. I have every right to show my love for Jesus and to be loved by Jesus. Someone who speaks the truth by her actions and by it says: I am also worthy to join my sisters, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others for she, with you and I will serve the Lord as any disciple should.” Amen