What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead … – James 2:14-26 (NIV)

*   *   *

Look closer and notice that James is not speaking about charity. The action he invokes is not imposed from above “on the less well off.” It is not directed at strangers. It is not to make us somehow feel better about ourselves, either. Rather, the action is to be extended within the circle of faith itself, where we too often less easily acknowledge need and step in to assist, much less to do so as “a brother or sister.”

Indirectly, James is speaking about church itself, as a verb. Churching is how the circle of believers gathers more intimately as our lives open into one. Lives, as in living oneness.

*   *   *

‘Vocation. This also they own to be a Benefit bestowed on them by the Father, in the Son; for that they who were by Nature Children of Wrath as well as others, have been called of God in Christ, with an High and Holy Calling, to obtain Mercy from him, even to become Saints, that so they should shew forth the Virtues of him who hath called them out of Darkness into his marvelous Light. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

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