The Cornerstone is Love
I’ve been thinking a lot these last few weeks about faith. Maybe you’re now thinking, “Well, of course you have, Jimmy! You’re a priest, aren’t you?” I am. AND, I believe faith is something that evolves over time. So, I’m thinking about mine, again. And, I’m thinking about yours, too. It’s my job, after all!
When we limit faith to a system of beliefs, particularly as they relate to God, I feel like there’s something missing there. I mean, of course, there’s a system of beliefs—that’s a component of faith. And, there are other things, too. I’ve been wondering what they are!
For us Episcopalians, there’s a bundle of rituals. There’s a book! (Brian and Christie are going to be talking about the book in February on Monday nights) There are these sacraments and sacramental rites—baptism, confirmation, marriage, prayers at the time of death.
There’s also this mixture of believing and doing. There are these actions, works that arise out of our belief. Here’s where I’ve been spending my time thinking. There’s a classic divide in Christian History—a divide between faith and works. Luther says, “The Letter of James is an epistle of straw (a works centered letter).” James says, “Faith without works is dead.”
I think we should surrender this old fight and take a more integrated approach. I’ve been thinking more about “the embodiment of faith.” I think of this as something different than exercising the practices of Christianity. Frankly, I think of it as something more. We can condition ourselves to not tell a lie. We can condition ourselves to not scream @#%$! when the hammer hits our finger. But doesn’t Jesus bring us something more than that. “A Way” as some have described it.
Of course, I believe the cornerstone to the embodiment of our faith is LOVE. I’m sure that comes as no surprise to any of you. I believe having a sense of our own beloved-ness is the beginning of the embodiment of the Christian Faith. I know most of us probably didn’t start there. But we can start over!