Holy Faith: A Bible Study for Asbury's Worship
by Rev. Lee Johnson
September 12, 2021
The settlement of Kansas, more than 160 years ago, is linked in part to the development of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. Two years prior to statehood, the rail company took hold in the territory. Some historians say Kansas came into Statehood on January 29, 1861, thanks to the political maneuvering of the day known as the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The act legitimized the territory and eventually led to Kansas being admitted as a “Free State,” barely two months before the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861. Yet, lost in the significance of this detail is the date, February 11, 1859. On that date, the rail company was founded, linking together cities in the Kansas Territory beginning with the eastern terminal in Atchison stretching south to Santa Fe, modern-day New Mexico. Just as the Kansas-Nebraska Act had the necessary political impact, the new railway brought the necessary economic impact carrying the “golden” commodity of wheat to be sent to other regions of the country. Kansas wasn’t just a political piece of a complicated puzzle. Kansas now brought the country a strong economic presence – made possible by a rail company. Can you imagine the personal and financial risk Cyrus Holliday took to establish the railway? What would it take to set off on an adventure like that knowing a Civil War loomed on the horizon? It was quite a risk. Have you ever begun a journey knowing in advance risks were involved?
Inserted into this study is the rail company’s logo. Except for color, it varied little over the 137 years of the line’s existence. Look closely at the logo. At the end of the line was Santa Fe. A quick study of Spanish reveals the meaning of the words Santa Fe – Holy Faith. That’s it. That’s what it took to begin a risky endeavor in 1859 as war loomed on the horizon – Holy Faith, and with that, the cross-like logo of the company was born. And, really, isn’t that what it takes to begin any of our life journeys – Holy Faith? In Genesis 12, choosing Abram to bless future generations of faith, God sends him, his wife and brother, on a journey. The destination is only revealed to them as a “place.” For God’s part, the generational promise is offered up and with that Abram, Sarai, and Lot pack up their possessions and set off, destination unknown. Now, ask yourself, would you set off on a journey with all of your important life possessions to an unknown destination? What would it take to do something like that? Holy Faith. Now read the story of Abram for yourself – Genesis 12.1-5a. In part, that Abram – later to become Abraham – left on the journey, God reckoned him righteous – as in right relationship with God, forever sealing Holy Faith into journeys of all generations to follow. That means you and me.
This Sunday, Rev. Daekyung Kim will preach his first sermon at Asbury. His is a journey of Holy Faith. Born and raised in Korea, less than 10 years ago, he came to Kansas City to study for ministry in The United Methodist Church, most recently serving in Burlington, Kansas. I looked on a map this week. Burlington, Kansas once served as a station home on the Santa Fe line. How appropriate for Daekyung. For, this summer, in less than four months, Daekyung journeyed from Burlington to Kansas City, to Korea, and back to Kansas City, leaving behind his wife and two children in Korea to care for a family member. How could someone do that? Now remind yourself what Abram blessed countless subsequent generations with, Holy Faith. We all stand in the lineage of that blessing. You too have received the blessing of Holy Faith. What difference might it make in your life to begin each day with the blessing of Holy Faith?
Genesis 12: 1-5a
Asbury's Weekend Worship: https://www.visitasbury.org/worship/
Beginning Sunday, September 12 at 11 a.m. for Live Stream or 5 p.m. for recording.
"Lord, increase my Holy Faith today."