"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

Sunday, March 11 2018

The letter of James focuses on the practice of faith; the integration of faith and behaviour, attitudes and relationships. James is all about “walking the walk”. And practice is the only way to improve at something.  There’s even an old secular proverb isn’t there, ‘practice makes perfect’?  At least we know that, whether it’s using a talent, or learning a new skill, or living the life of faith, practice certainly makes ‘better’.

Our confessions of faith are empty if not reflected in the choices we make.  Our faith is more than ‘God in our hearts’; it is the revealing of Christ within through the actions in our lives.  Now anyone, any ‘good’ person, of any faith, or of no faith conviction, can do beneficial things for people, can work for justice, can be generous and care for the vulnerable and marginalized of society.  Anyone can do that and they are to be commended.

But as Christians we are motivated and inspired by our faith, and in community, by our conviction that we are indeed members of Christ’s Body and therefore ‘Christ’s hands and feet’.

James 1:22-27  “Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves…” Be doers who act, not just listeners who listen…not just thinkers that think, not just a pray-er that prays, not just a believer who believes, but a believer, a disciple, who gets things done, for the sake of God’s kingdom here on earth, in the service of Christ. And we respond to that calling knowing that we are led and empowered by none other than the Holy Spirit of God.

James 2:14-17 “What good is it…if you say you have faith but do not have works?…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 need, what is the good of that? …Faith by itself, if it has no works is dead!”

Photo: Carol and Sharon with some of the ‘mother’s bags’, filled with toiletries and other emergency supplies,  prepared for the project Bales for the North.

St. Teresa of Ávila,  born in 1515, was a Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun,  author, theologian and reformer. She wrote these words of inspiration, adapted so that you can pray them:

Prayer: Christ has no body now but mine.
No hands, no feet on earth but mine.
Mine are the eyes through which he looks
with compassion on this world.
Mine are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Mine are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Mine are the hands, mine are the feet, mine are the eyes;
Christ has no body now on earth but mine.  Amen.