“If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” James 2:14-26
As some of you may know, I was born and raised in Texas. It has always been baffling to me the love of guns in the state and it seems to have gotten only more intense over the years. It is in this context that I write this week about the hollow platitudes about “thoughts and prayers” in the aftermath of a mass shooting leaving twenty-six men, women and children dead.
The above scripture has been running through my head because it reminds me that we are the hands, legs and arms of Spirit. Spirit can only do what it does through us and it requires that we have the wisdom and awareness to see that there is no supernatural something outside of us that will substitute for making choices and decisions that value the sanctity of life. It is not lost on me that as one person tweeted that those who were killed were in a house of worship. Prayer without actions to address easy access to guns will not stop mass shootings.
There are reasons not to give up and to have faith that we can live in a better world. A critical mass of conscious and aware people can make a difference. We just saw how voters yesterday said no to racism and xenophobia, making history around the country. There are many who envision a world that works for everyone where all are valued in our society. These are examples of faith in action. For those people who have faith in Spirit, it is important to practice that faith in words, thoughts and deeds.
Faith with works is life. Spirit’s grace makes it possible for us to live life fully. We are here to love and support ourselves and each other. We are to affirm life in everything we do. As the scripture above says, our deeds more than our words serve as a testament to our faith. When our faith and actions are aligned, we no longer hope and pray for something different, we take action to make it a reality.