Pray with Your Feet & Heal with Your Hands

Prayer for USA by Harley Pebley - flickr.com/photos/hpebley3/3504265592/

Prayer for USA by Harley Pebley – flickr.com/photos/hpebley3/3504265592/

Since the election, I have read more strongly worded articles and heard more passionately preached sermons than in any other two week period I can recall.  Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke Chapel and an associate professor of the practice of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, preached a sermon that is now available online in written form that falls into both categories yet also moves beyond them.

Powery’s “There’s Work to Do; or, An Open Letter to My Children” is a call to action that is responsive to our current American situation and deeply informed by the biblical text.  This call moves from the general to the specific.

Generally, we must

Remember, as Christians, we stand on the side of love, the love of God and love of neighbor; those are two great commandments.*

More specifically, we must realize

there’s so much work to do. It’s time to “pray with our feet” (Abraham Heschel) and heal with our hands and join the redemptive work God is doing in the world.

Biblical Precedents

Power offers the calls to action listed above based on a biblical text that then is supported by other texts:

Paul’s letter urges us to work and “do not be weary in doing what is right” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). There are those who don’t work for various reasons, but if you work, do what is right. What is right? Right is doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8).

What is right? Right is caring for orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27).

What is right? Right is not mistreating or oppressing resident aliens, because you were aliens in the land of Egypt (Exodus 23:9).

What is right? Right is “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).

What is right? Right is bringing good news to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and letting the oppressed go free (Luke 4:18).

So What?

No matter who you are or where you are on the journey of faith, if you seek to follow the Way of Jesus now is the time to act.  You must, I must, and all of us together must strive to be co-laborers with God committed to co-creating a future that makes real God’s realm on earth – a realm that gives life to what is right.

Are you praying with your feet and healing with your hands? Will you stay the course and continue these actions day in and day out?

Is your faith community focused on gathering together those within and beyond its membership to do the work of praying together with many feet and healing together with many hands? Do you believe this body will stay the course and persist in this effort?

 

*Immediately following the election I wrote about love ultimately winning.

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