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Wednesday Wondering - September 13, 2023

Scripture

Luke 4: 18 - 19

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour.”


James 2: 14 - 17

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.


Reflection

I have been thinking this week about this thing that we do, this idea of church. I suppose in some ways that makes sense because of my ‘call’ to serve in the church. What is this thing that we do called church? So we come together to worship, to sing, to pray, and to be a part of a community of believers, but it really goes beyond that, doesn’t it? Or maybe is should go beyond that! Both of the scriptures speak to something deeply profound as they speak to actions that one is challenged to take, when they say that they are a believer. It is interesting as I have a colleague friend who believes that our faith must consist of everything that we do, once we say ‘I believe.’ In other words our faith should be reflected in everything we do, in every action that we take, rather than just the words that we use on a Sunday morning within the four walls of our church buildings. The scriptures are challenging us to move beyond mere words, in some ways they are challenging us to move beyond mere belief. I wonder, did Jesus ever want us to just believe, or was the point of Jesus’s coming to challenge us to action? Richard Rohr, the Roman Catholic priest, theologian, and spiritual guide, thinks of this idea in the following way, “Christianity is a lifestyle - a way of being in the world that is simple, non-violent, shared, and loving. However, we made it into an

established religion" (and all that goes with that) and avoided the lifestyle change itself. One could be warlike, greedy, racist, selfish, and vain in most of Christian history, and still believe that Jesus is one’s "personal Lord and Savior.” The world has no time for such silliness anymore. The suffering on Earth is too great.” According to Rohr to be a Christian means that we embody Christ in our own lives and do, as Christ did, in the world. It is more than belief it is action and it is action that is sorely needed in today’s world. When we default to understanding our faith as only something that we are called to believe we don’t recognize the true power of faith. Yes, I believe that there is power in our faith, and even though that word has some negative connotations, I believe that it is in this power that we can make a difference. Going back to Richard Rohr, he speaks to this idea in the following way, “We worshiped Jesus instead of following him on his same path. We made Jesus into a mere religion instead of a journey toward union with God and everything else. This shift made us into a religion of 'belonging and believing’ instead of a religion of transformation.” When we begin to see that our faith is not only about what we believe, but rather it is a call for us to ‘do,’ we begin to see that our faith is actually one of transformation. Yes, we come together to worship, to pray, to sing, and be in community, but all of these should energize us to move out into the world and ‘do.’ Our faith is more than something that we believe, it is something that we are called to do each and every day of our lives and in living our faith we become people of transformation in a world that needs to be transformed in love, grace, mercy, compassion, peace, and forgiveness. It is our challenge and our call, to embody our faith in every thing that we do in our lives. Maybe it is work, but I can only imagine the type of world that might just emerge as we continue to “LIVE” our faith.


Prayer

God, who calls us to action, help us to hear your challenge to be more than people who believe, but rather people who act. Give us to courage to go out into the world to truly live our faith in all that we do. Give us the wisdom to know that you call us to more than just ‘believing and belonging,’ but rather you call us to do in the world today and every day. Open our hearts to your calls to action and help us to live out those calls, even in the midst of the challenges of the world. We ask this in the name of the one who came to show us the way, your son, Jesus. Amen.

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