Sunday, September 30, 2012

actionable knowledge

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Running to obtain his promises, that is what we do: to receive the prize, to reach the treasure, to obtain his grace, mercy, pity, and compassion. How do we run to obtain his promises?

What shows us the way to grace, the way to reach the goal, to receive the promise?

Wisdom: the illuminating presence of God, the practice in his presence of graceful life.

James calls us, throughout his letter – and in the concluding passage we read this week – calls us to return to the way that is wisdom. Wisdom is the way to fullness of grace.

How do we go about experiencing the fullness of his grace?

How do we show our faith?

God calls us to a faith that shows in action.

God gives us actionable knowledge of his mercy, knowledge – confidence in his promises – that we can act upon.

God calls us to active faith – faith in practice: active wisdom.

What are we doing already to experience his grace?

Here is one person’s experience of fullness in the past week:

Visiting the sick, celebrating a new ministry,
sharing understanding of baptismal identity –
based in the love of Jesus,
mourning the death of a family friend,
working out, walking on the beach,
meeting one’s spouse for lunch,
meeting co-workers and friends, giving books away,
studying the Bible with a friend,
visiting family,
listening to music, singing, meeting cousins,
meeting about lighting the church,

and— with God’s people—
gathering, proclaiming, giving and receiving,
blessing and receiving blessing,
celebrating, and going forth in love.

Here is one church’s week – this week, this church:

Boy Scouts, Prayer Beads, Altar Guild, Music Group.
Setting up for coffee hour. Making the coffee!
Welcoming new friends. Preparing the altar.

Gathering and
proclaiming and
greeting in peace;
celebrating and
giving and
receiving and
going forth.

Blessing animals.

Sharing meals – sharing hospitality – sharing faith.
Showing faith.

Being the good news.
Being the good news in this place, in this time, to these people.

Give us the grace
to seek your grace

God be in my head
         and in my understanding
God be in mine eyes
         and in my looking
God be in my mouth
         and in my speaking
God be in my heart
         and in my thinking
God be at mine end
         and at my departing

Give us grace so to love you, Lord,
         that we seek you with
  • a lover’s eagerness, 
  • an eagle’s swiftness, 
  • a hawk’s daring, 
  • a child’s longing.

Grant us grace to seek you, Lord,
         the final prize of all.

BProper 21, Numbers 11:4-29, Psalm 19:7-14, James 5:13-20, Mark 9:38-50,

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