After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us." And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, `Go,' and he goes, and to another, `Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, `Do this,' and the slave does it." When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health. Luke 7:1-10
My Dad was a Navy Chaplain and championed the self-disciple he received in the service as well as the order and respect. Long after he was done with active duty he like to think we were his own little platoon. He would wake up with march tunes played on the record player. He would have played them on a trumpet but he didn't know how. He wasn't really much of a tyrant, but believed we should all work hard and never laze around. When I saw the movie the Great Santini, it reminded me of my childhood sometimes.
We hear the story of the officer who have a slave who was ill. He sent Jewish elders, he knew the chain of command, and had them ask on his behalf. He understood the local culture and the temple customs. He was a man of discipline who trusted his own observations and insights about role and authority. He lived a life of great respect and honor so that when Jesus came near the centurion understood that the healing would be done. He trusted the authority of Jesus. We often doubt our own authority and power and so often expect God to be insecure or uncertain also. But God is completely reliant, rock sure and willing to do more for us than we can even ask. Our job is to believe.
Today I ask God to help me be firm in my faith. May we enter into those habits of daily prayer and study that strengthen and deepen our faith. May we as a community remind one another of God's faithfulness and help one another to be strong in that faith. For God has promised to be with us, bringing us healing all along our journey.
O God, your never-failing providence sets in order all things both in heaven and earth: Put away from us, we entreat you, all hurtful things, and give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.