2 Timothy 1: 3-5
I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.
I am always uncomfortable with the idea of faith as an individual action. For many Christians, faith as an individual choice or decision is a source of comfort and strength; I am moved by their experience, but that hasn’t yet been mine.
I think that is why I love the opening of the second letter to Timothy. The writer doesn’t understand faith as an individual decision, but as a gift. Here, faith is specifically handed down from the reader’s grandmother and mother. That’s an image that speaks to me.
I have seen my grandmother’s faith in action as she has struggled with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for the past 20 years. I have seen her faith being fleshed out as she responded to suffering with kindness and as she chose hope in response to bad news. I have also seen her faith as she has learned to accept my identity as a gay Christian. I’ve seen her faith give her the strength to ask questions, continue difficult conversations, and claim the love that unites us even when we don’t understand each another.
It just so happens that my grandmother’s name is Loyce. She is often called Lois. I think the author of 2nd Timothy had her in mind when they were writing this letter.
And so, I, too, give thanks for the faith of Loyce, which has been born out in her life and now, somehow, lives in me. I give thanks for the gifts of faith and doubt that continue to carry me through difficult and uncertain days. Thanks be to God.
Here’s a prayer for today:
Holy One, thank You for all of the people through whom You have given us faith. Thank you for those who have led us through their example of humble, justice-seeking service. Help us to follow You more closely, as well, as we journey as a diverse and beloved community. Amen.
Today’s devotional comes from Billy Kluttz. Billy works as Immanuel in the Evening Coordinator. You’re invited to worship with Immanuel in the Evening on Sundays at 5:30 pm.