“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 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 needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” -- James 2:14-17
Flipping on the nightly news, I heard Oprah Winfrey ask the question, “Where Do We Go From Here?” Her question struck an uncomfortable nerve, as the book lying by my side bears the same title, written by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, 52 years ago. The subtitle of his work, unfortunately provokes the same question we might ask today. “Chaos or community?”
Though there are haters out there, most of us clearly prefer community over chaos. What’s less clear is how to get there from here. Like that time so long ago, triggered by a tired woman riding a bus, the events of these past two weeks stirred in us thoughts and feelings we may not have known we have.
Some among us suffer with grief. This week Bishop William Barber, African American minister and leader of the Poor People’s Campaign, remarked that he hopes we do not move too quickly off of our collective national grief. He quoted the Beatitudes, “Blessed are those who mourn, Jesus said.” Bishop Barber encouraged us, “Do no move too soon beyond mourning.”
Many of us feel desperate to do something in light of all that’s happening in response to George Floyd’s death. Yet like other national crisis, our actions are more often than not simply re-active if we don’t take the faithful and necessary time to lament and reflect on what has brought us to this place, pray for instruction, wait, and follow accordingly.
Make no mistake, action will follow. Faith without works really is dead. Until the path becomes clear, and it will, we join our neighbors in a collective cry, as God prepares our hearts, minds and spirits for how as people of faith we answer the question together, “Where Do We Go From Here?”
Prayer: God, please guide us through this wilderness, reveal to us the path you would have us take, and grant us the courage to take it. Amen
God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,
Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Interim Senior Minister
Community Church of Vero Beach