Wednesday Wondering - Wednesday, July 5, 2023
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? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 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? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
Luke 8: 43 - 48
Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 45 Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” 47 When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
I have been thinking a lot about our faith and what it actually means to be a person of faith in the world today. Richard Rohr, who is an American priest and the former head of the Center for Action and Contemplation, has said, “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.” We often ask what people believe, but I think that Jesus requires us to ask something far more important, what do you do? The reading that I chose from James is familiar to many of us as it speaks to the idea that faith alone is not enough, it is what we do with our faith that makes it important. I have paired this with Luke’s version of the interaction between Jesus and the hemorrhaging woman. There is a reason that I chose this reading. If we look at this reading it is full of verbs, action words; suffering, touched, press, trembling, falling, declaring, healed. In this reading there is action by people and power and healing of the Spirit. It is a reading that is filled with action, with people taking initiative and that is what our faith is really about, isn’t it? Terry Tempest Williams, an American writer, educator, conservationist, and activist, says the following about faith, "This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.” Our faith is more than just something that we think or believe, our faith has to be something that we do. If we don’t do, if our faith does not bring us to action in the world then we will never become people of transformation in the world. Jesus came to show us the way. It was not a way of believing, but rather it was a new way of being in the world. Jesus came to show us a new way of doing, a way that envisioned, not just churches, but a world that is based in love, compassion, true justice, forgiveness, and mercy for all people so that all persons might thrive. Jesus came to change the world and without action on our part are we really following Jesus? So what is our faith? Our faith is dynamic, exciting, energizing, and challenges us to move out into the world bringing the love, compassion, true justice, forgiveness, and mercy of God to a world that needs it, right now. So let us truly be people of faith, let us be people of action. Amen.
God of inspiration and energy, open our ears that we might hear your call to action, open our hearts that we might feel your Spirit guiding us out beyond the walls of our churches, open our minds so that we might discern where our gifts will make the most difference, open our souls so that we can become more like Christ in all that we do, so that we might truly transform this world and your kingdom might truly come. We ask this in the name of the one who came to show us the way, your son, Jesus. Amen.