Today's Word: James 2:14-17
14/ 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.
The Christian faith is well-suited to prompt us to aid persons who are in severe need. Personal faith does not exist in isolation, but it exists first in relation to the Creator God who maintains an ongoing concern for the whole creation and second in relation to our neighbors. As people of faith we are called to be messengers (evangels) of God’s redeeming and reconciling love in all circumstances. Redemption in the scriptures was never limited to eternal salvation in the world to come. Redemption pertains first and foremost to God’s intervention in the lives of the faithful who are confronted with bondage, oppression, violence, marginalization, and dehumanization. God comes in the most urgent manner to rescue and redeem those who are imperiled by life’s floods and storms, whether originating in nature or caused by human beings. We represent the Christian faith poorly if we pretend that God is only concerned about our real estate preferences in the next world, hot climate or moderate climate…please somebody. James argues, “what good is your faith if you never help anybody, or come to the rescue of those in need?” Faith that does not extend aid to others in crisis is totally useless, or better put, dead.
Consider the multiple crises unfolding in our world today, including hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, human migration due to climate change and political upheaval, hunger, violence, injustice and so much more. We are inundated with opportunities to demonstrate faith. In what ways can your local faith community demonstrate faith in real-time in the world?
God of grace, empower all who have faith in you to practice your redeeming, liberating, and empowering love to others that we come in contact with. Be Thou our vision for the kind of loving intervention you need us to be. Help us to serve as the hands, feet, and mouthpiece of your reconciling and redemptive love for others. Lead and guide us, and we will follow you, in the Name of Jesus, Amen.