The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office has joined in the growing number of police departments that have added “In God we Trust” to their patrol cars. As a member of the clergy, I should probably be more excited about this growing trend, but so often these moves feel like they are done in spite, which makes me feel icky (a deeply theological term). Anyway, no matter how I feel about the new sticker and fully aware that my judgmental nature is well outside the “radiating the glory of God” category, I’ve actually found myself drawn to these words that we find printed everywhere from Sheriff’s patrol cars to the almost useless penny.
In God we Trust
This is such a profound creedal statement, that if it were really true, would change the face of the earth. In Sunday’s various lessons, we hear a lot about trust, which in theology is called faith or belief. For Abram to believe that Sarai was going to bear a child at 90 required something deeper than the intellectual assent we post-enlightenment westerners associate with belief. Rather, Abram had to trust in God fully. He placed his whole stake trusting that God would keep his promise. As a result of that trust, the entire course of human history was changed.
Paul, in his letter/sermon to the Hebrews offers a helpful way of looking at trust/faith/belief. “Faith,” he writes, “is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is having trust in the one who makes promises, which, again, if we really believed this, the world would be a vastly different place.
Which leads us finally to Jesus’ final word on the parable of the foolish rich man that we heard last week. As he explains the parable to his disciples, the tells them that “where their treasure is, their heart will be also.” He lays it down before them, wondering, do you trust my word enough to follow me fully in heart, mind, soul, and body? Or, is your trust in someone or something else? Is your trust bifurcated? Are you willing to follow me fully?
Placing our full trust in God is not easy. There are plenty of forces: powers and principalities; that clamor for a little chunk of our trust – us tiling fear, frustration, and the promise of a better future than God has prepared. To stake out future solely on God can be frightening, but as Jesus, Paul, and Abram show us, the reward is well beyond anything this world can offer.