James 2:17. NIV
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James is my favorite of all the New Testament letters. Paul tells people how to be church together. James tells people how to be.
This verse is perhaps the best example of that. Many people see this verse as contradicting Paul’s words on faith and salvation. Yes, as Paul said, we are saved through faith and no amount of work will buy our salvation. BUT James tells us that the faithful will do the things that Jesus commanded - feeding the hungry, comforting the prisoner, healing the sick, spreading the Gospel - for no other reason than because they are faithful.
For example: Many people talk about caring for the hungry, but do nothing to help. Some people talk about caring for the hungry, and then go to volunteer in food banks and hot meals programs. As Pope Francis said, “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. That is how prayer works.”
And that is what the faithful do. We pray for a situation, then we go do something about it. We pray for change, then we work toward that change. We have faith that God can handle it, but we know that we are God’s hands and feet in the world, and it is our job to do the footwork. It is our job to practice what we preach.
Practicing what I preach is what I am going to be doing for the next 10 days. I will be taking time to rest and regroup as I keep telling others to do. In other years I have gone to spend the better part of a week on a private retreat at St Anthony Retreat in Three Rivers. Obviously, I can’t do that this year. So I will be having my retreat at home. For the next 10 days, October 10th through October 18th, there will be a vacation notice on my church email, and I will not be checking it. I will not be posting my Daily Journal to Facebook - I won’t be on Facebook at all. I won’t even be on Facebook Messenger. I will be allowing my mind and soul to unwind through prayer and meditation, introspective writing and maybe even some coloring.
God of the Sabbath, you have told us we need to rest from our labors one day each week, and sometimes for a week, and sometimes for an entire year. Lord, this is hard to do. We don’t do “rest” well. May we take the time we need to honor you and rest ourselves as you have told us to do. Amen.