Thank you so much, Laura, and everyone, for the invitation to preach this morning. It is wonderful to be here again among you. You are a special community of people, and I have missed you.
Our four wonderful lessons for today are each about faith. Oh, they concern a number of other things too, but the idea of faith unites them mightily. In Genesis we read of God’s calling of Abraham, and of Sarah and Abraham’s faith in God’s project and protection as they willingly venture off into the unknown. The Psalmist tells us that God does not want our burnt offerings, the rote rituals of religious practice, but rather the sacrifice of a thankful heart, a heart that sees God’s love and mercy everywhere, and that cannot stop saying “thank you!”