Note On Faith In Action

This past Sunday Church service was canceled. Instead of singing hymns, praying, and hearing a sermon, then drinking coffee and fellowshipping, we went out into our community and be the church. This is the third annual Faith in Action Sunday. I am so proud to be part of a church that takes serious the ‘go and do likewise’ part of the gospel seriously. We know that we are not prefect or that the way we do things would appeal to everyone, but we take serious the call to love God, neighbor, and make disciples. We might stumble and step on each other’s toes at times, but we continually go to Jesus, ask that He make his people, and help us to be his hands and feet in a broken world.

We call it faith in action, because we put action with our life by showing our community what it means to have faith in Jesus. This year a group went to a city park and handed out sandwiches. Another group went a city park and did weeding; another group went to another park and did some cleaning up. This is our small way of saying with our hands and feet that the resurrection was and is a real event in history and we want Jesus to live in our hearts.

You don’t have go to church or call yourself a Christian to affirm the resurrection and proclaim the Kingdom of God.

Galatians 5: You were called to be free. Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Walk by the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Rob Bell in Jesus Wants To Save Christians is speaking about the Exodus and the Ten Commandments and writes, “the third commandment, the prohibition not to ‘misuse the name of the Lord your God.’ The Hebrew word for ‘misuse’ here can also be translated ‘carry.’ God has redeemed these former slaves and is now inviting them and the God who made it happen. They are how the world will know who God is. God’s reputation is going to depend on them and how they ‘carry’ God’s name.  The command is certainly about the words a person speaks, But at its heart it is far more about how Israel carries herself as those who carry the name of God. Will she act on behalf of the poor and oppressed? Because that is how this God acts.”

A little later Bell imagines God telling the Hebrews how they are to act in light of their liberation from slavery. “It’s as if God is saying, ‘The thing that has happened to you—go make it happen for others. The freedom from oppression that you are now experiencing—help others experience that same freedom. The grace that has been extended to you when you were at your lowest—extend it to others. In the same way I heard your cry, go and hear the cry of others and act on their behalf.”

Just as the Hebrew’s were to pay it forward, so are we Christians to extend the same love and grace we have found in Jesus to those we encounter on a daily basis. People should see us and want to be Christians because of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness they see in us. We need to love those that the world finds unacceptable—to extend the good news to those who only know sorrow, hostility, and exclusion. We should stand up for love and grace and tell the world we will not let a single person go hungry, unloved, unprotected, or friendless. We should not create division, but build bridges that unite and encourage others to be all that they are meant to be.

This is what it means to declare Jesus Christ as Lord and savior of all.

You too can have a Faith in Action. You could gather a group together, go out, and do likewise. You can be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. You could even do this on your own. Just love the person in front of you, not for anything you might get but all to the glory of God.

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