Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus celebrates the trust of the centurion who asked him to heal his servant: “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.”
We can say with the centurion that the Lord is a rock, a stronghold, a firm place to stand. The God who is not one more shifting and indefinite creature but rather the ground of being itself is a power upon whom we can rely, a covenant-maker whose word we can trust.
In his very freedom and sovereignty as our Creator, God is a parent in whose lap we can serenely find our rest. Undoubtedly, what has made religious belief such an indispensable part of human consciousness and behavior is just this assurance of safety that it brings.
There is nothing in the cosmos that will not, finally, disappoint us. There is no place in the universe that will not, finally, be shaken. But God, the self-sufficient ground of existence itself, can be trusted not to disappoint and not to betray. “No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging,” says the author of the Shaker hymn, witnessing ecstatically to this divine faithfulness.