Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Porch Stories :: Faithful Living

porch stories 13 December faithful living

Today for her Porch Story Kristin Hill Taylor's about service projects as a way of Living Out Our Faith.

The transformation and literal resurrection of the old into the new is a huge part of the witness of scripture, a major aspect of biblical religion. God named Abram/Abraham "faithful" or righteous {one of God's attributes!} because Abram walked out in trust toward the place God promised to show him later. In other words, Abraham had no destination in his imagination; he'd journey as in Rich Mullins' song "Step by Step":
Sometimes I think of Abraham
How one star he saw had been lit for me
He was a stranger in this land
And I am that, no less than he
And on this road to righteousness
Sometimes the climb can be so steep
I may falter in my steps
But never beyond Your reach

God choosing and claiming us by grace and not because anything we do {or even because of a loving or generous attitude} is central to our theology, yet God's calling and enabling us to be his transformative presence in the world is fundamental to our identity as God's people. When she talks about living out faith, bringing faith or trust in God to life, Kristin writes about activities that help change people's lives. I've received tremendous satisfaction from serving at soup kitchens and at Thursday evening community dinner. I've helped with several aspects of Habitat for Humanity houses. The brightly colored art and design I do for church and community is a unique way I live out my faith in service. Any of those are small contributions almost any individual can make; they may seem tiny, but you know how many small deductions out of your wallet or your checking account it takes eventually to deplete the entire balance? In the exact same manner, small additions to needs of your workplace, community, family, or organization eventually add up to transformation so complete they amount to resurrection from death, re-filling the balance on the side of life.

Does acting as God's presence in the world redeem us? No, never, not at all. God in Christ Jesus already has saved us. But are those acts of service essential to our step by step trust in God? Absolutely! Theologian of grace Martin Luther said he loved good works so much he'd like to be called the Doctor of Good Works!

Maybe because I have a not unusual tendency to act more like a human doing than a human being a lot of the time {please notice me! Check out everything I've been doing! Let me show you my list!}, I could make lists of lists of help-filled activities I've enjoyed. But it's winter in the northern hemisphere and again it's that season of Chanukah-Nativity-New Year parties, gifts, and festivities that catapults many people into a deep blue funk, sometimes triggers serious depression. As much as I glory in making myself feel good by doing observable and quantifiable service projects and making physical gifts literally to present, one of the best ways anyone can live out their faith and make it tangible, audible, and visible is by simply being alongside others. Sometimes just sitting. Often listening and hearing their stories. Nothing spectacular, nothing anyone else ever will know about.

Kristin concludes by remaining herself, "Obviously, what we're able to do changes with seasons in life. Serving together has reminded me not to grow too comfortable in on stage because God is always working. I don't want to miss what He has for us because I'm growing too comfortable in my own ways." That next season in life might be three or four years from now, or it might be near as the season of spring 2018. God calls us faithful and righteous because we follow his call. That means putting aside all the noise and activity; it means being still and simply listening to God in order to hear and discern God's call and the next step toward that place God will show us—when we get there.

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