August 7, 2022: Wishful Thinking, Optimism, or Hope?

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost


Scripture: Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

  • “Panis Angelicus,” by Cesar Franck; Vince Redhouse, flute
  • “How Shall I Come Before the Lord,” English folk tune, arr. by Dean McIntyre; Trinity Singers
  • Hymn 140, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” by Thomas O. Chisholm
  • Hymn 451, “Be Thou My Vision,” Irish hymn, translated by Mary E. Byrne
  • “A Prayer from the Hills,” by Gilbert M. Martin; Pauline Olsen, organ
  • “The Forest Path,” by Vince Redhouse; Vince Redhouse, flute
  • Reading from Scripture: Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16; Judy Stevenfeldt
  • Sermon: “Wishful Thinking, Optimism, or Hope?” Pastor Desi Larson
  • Hymn 123, “El Shaddai,” by Michael Card and John Thompson
  • Hymn 431, “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson
  • “Recessional,” by Robert J. Hughes; Pauline Olsen, organ

Song Leader: Dr. Jerry Wright

Translation for El Shaddai, Hymn 123
From Hebrew:
El Shaddai: God Almighty
El Elyon: The Most High God
na Adonai: O Lord
Erkahmka: We will love you

Sermon outline for August 7, 2022

Pastoral Prayer: Children of Abraham, John van de Laar. 

Scripture Lessons: Genesis 15:1-6 and Luke 12:32-40

With Children: F.A.I.T.H = Forsaking All, I Trust Him

Sermon Outline: Wishful Thinking, Optimism, and Hope*

  1. Fear Not: God to Abram, “Do not be afraid.” Luke 12:32-48 When I read today’s Gospel passage I am struck by the juxtaposition of anxiety and faith. “Do not be afraid, little flock,” Jesus counsels the disciples in the first verse. Here he acknowledges that fear is a real and present companion for his followers, then and now. Do not be afraid. In the lectionary text last week, Jesus gives the examples of the lilies of the field—who have no anxiety about market shares or college loans—who worry not, for God has provided for all their needs. “But God so clothes the grasses of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—ye of little faith!” (Luke 12:28)
  2. Faith V. Anxiety: Fear of Failure, Anxiety is a powerful motivator and paralyzing Jesus’ followers were anxious. They were worried. Worried about Roman oppressors hurting them and their families. Worried about where their next meal will come from, and how they’re going to provide for themselves and the future. Worried about God’s anger. Worried about the state of the world, full to bursting with injustice.
  3. Taking a leap of faith: Vision: “What would you love to try if you knew you couldn’t fail?” reaction: Fear/Anxiety – God has our back: A leap of faith can cause anxiety, but God has our back: “Do not be afraid,” I will guide you and protect you and give you offspring and a future you could not have imagined.”
  4. Faith gives birth to hope: Hope is a building block of faith Lucy/Peanuts, doesn’t catch fly ball, “Sorry I missed that one, manager, I was hoping I’d catch it! Hope got in my eyes.” Lucy confuses hope with wishful thinking… Hope is not optimism (ex: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, ready to give up, the fellow prisoner draws a cross in the dirt, new hope)
  5. Going forth – God has our back – into the world and all their various vocational arenas – home, work, school, places of volunteering – with the conviction that God – and we – have your back God calls us to a new thing, economically and spiritually. God calls us to alternative visions of reality and challenges us to become partners in healing the world. We need to expect great things from God and great things from ourselves if the world is to be saved.

*Sermon title borrowed from Rev. Dr. Michael Foss, 2007.

Sources of inspiration:

Brekke, Laura. (2016). Anxiety and Faith. Modern Metanoia.

Culpepper, R. Alan (1995). Luke. The New Interpreters Bible Commentary. Abingdon Press.

Epperly, Bruce. (2022). Adventurous Lectionary – Ninth Sunday after Pentecost. Living a Holy Adventure. Living A Holy Adventure – Bruce Epperly (

Foss, Michael. (2007). Wishful Thinking, Optimism, and Hope. Day1.

Kierkegaard, Søren. (1974). Fear and Trembling and the Sickness unto Death. Translated by Walter Lowrie. Princeton University Press. 7th Edition.

van de Laar, John. (2022). Children of Abram. Sacredise.