“For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” James 2:26
“Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear this O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:28-31These two quotes come to mind to sum up my thoughts yesterday as I moved from activity to activity. I started the day by going to a group run (though not running, cheering instead) that was organized by two women in our area in leiu of the New York City marathon. Their goal was to raise money for the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief. They employed their resources and mobilized their fellow runners to do anything from a three mile walk to a full marathon along the Erie canal. They did this in three days and a couple people like me just went to cheer and support. It was cold and very late-fall like but every runner had a big smile on their face and in the end raised over $5000.00. Pretty impressive for an impromptu run in early November at 8a on a Saturday! Works. Faith is alive through works. I don’t know what their faith is like, I don’t know what theology they subscribe to, if in fact they do; their religion may be running. But I do know that whatever it is, it is alive in their work. I also know that it revealed God in our midst. Check out the news link below.
http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Last-minute-CNY2NYC-Run-a-huge-success-177180361.htmlAfter that I headed to mass where Mark was the Gospel reading (above). Interesting how they tie in because directly after mass I went to a local shopping center parking lot where a couple of people were filling a U-Haul (donated by U-haul) and taking it down to Staten Island. One of the women present was a local woman who moved to Staten Island. I asked her how she and her house fared…she said she “was fine but two blocks away, people lost everything.” Moved by the plight of her neighbors, she Facebooked a message that got the word out and in twenty four hours they had a full U-Haul with another getting ready to fill. The very basic things are needed. The loss in these communities is so great. Again, I have no idea what this woman subscribes to but the look of compassion and empathy in her eyes was clear that she loved her neighbor. Again, a link.http://www.wktv.com/news/local/New-Hartford-native-to-return-home-to-Staten-Island-with-truckload-of-Hurricane-Sandy-Recovery-donations-177179851.html
Each of us has the opportunity to relieve the suffering of those around us. Actually, I read the second part of what Mark says as having the responsibility. But as a friend said, “I feel so removed from what is going on” I understand that feeling. For though I am moved in compassion, I have to seek out my opportunities to insert myself into the mix of helping people get their lives back. But I look at the actions of these women, I see how their movements actually shows God in our midst and gives people the chance to show their neighbor love and I am grateful and humbled to be part of their community.But lest I forget to mention it, I also believe in the value of prayer. If you are not in a position to give in any other way, the value of prayer is unmeasurable. As I was gathering things, I was praying that the people who received them knew that God was with them, that they were loved, that things would improve and that most of all, they were not forgotten. I believe that the Holy Spirit will wrap them in a warm embrace when we send our prayers out. It may be the very thing that they need.