Have Faith? Not Without Actions of Faith!

James 2:14-18,26
14 My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? 15 Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. 16 What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? 17 In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity. 18 Someone might claim, “You have faith and I have action.” But how can I see your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I’ll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faithful action. 

26 As the lifeless body is dead, so faith without actions is dead.

If you recognize this passage, it was the daily scripture from the Upper Room for January 03, 2023, and yes it is very fitting for this time of year.  We often find ourselves kind of “burnt out” this time of year with all of the Christian events and activities which occur from September to January 1. So many celebrations and Christian observations during these few months that it is easy to feel a bit overwhelmed with getting back into what faith in our Christian church really means. 

It is not all about the perfection of getting everything just right. The right flowers, the right altar cloth, the right hymns to sing, the best scriptures, everything is right and in the right place!  Aagghhh!  Give me a break! Is this what God intends for us? Or, are we missing something?  As our scripture reads, “what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? “ Yes, I too like to see the sanctuary adorned with much color and beautifully constructed arrangements, even if decorative “weeds” are used as our altar decor. They are all a part of God’s creation and how can we not see the beauty in all of God’s nature, God’s creation, God’s children.

What will help us all survive the long winter months, to regain and strengthen our faith, as we all become a bit sluggish at this time of year? Let us not take count of what we do to show we have faith, but be accountable for what our faith brings us to do. Will we miss out on fellowship from time to time?  Yes. Will we forget to let our faith bring joy to others? As James describes, our faith is not just what we do, but what we do by faith. We can shovel the sidewalk for a neighbor when there is no snow, but to put our shovel to the pavement for your neighbors when they are not able, or the burden is too great.  That is what putting our Christian faith into action means. It's not action when it is convenient, but an act of love and caring when the need is greatest.

So what about the church of Christ in Mora MN? Or, might I stress the Mora United Methodist Church fellowship. What is our action of faith that keeps us energized in our Christian love and compassion?  Faith in action is the cooperation of everyone to see that our church family is cared for. Faith in action is the eager encouragement to keep our missions strong, alive, and enjoyable! It’s as simple as “Clunky Change.”  This is faith in action. Keep joy in your faith and let it shine. Invite others into the fellowship of our faith. Laugh out loud! Smile a lot! Our church family, as James describes is not, the lifeless body is dead.” This is certainly not a reflection of what I see in the faith of our church fellowship, but a faith that lives, loves, and acts.  Look all around and see what is real!  We are not perfect as God is perfection. This long cold winter puts a strain on our faith, our human weakness shows, but through our continuous acts we find our faith is never lost, but we see our faith is one that renews each day when our actions demonstrate our faith in God and faith in our church family. God bless us all when the snows pile up and the temperature dips and our faith is challenged. Pray for God’s guidance as we put our faith in action this 2023!

Blessings, Pastor Dean
January 2023