Most of us will have admired the athletic ability of competitors from around the world both in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. But as we’ve enjoyed their performances and shared their joys, we might not have been aware of the hard training schedules beforehand. But when it comes to performing well – what I’m sure many of them would say is that it’s not about good intentions – it’s about putting aspirations into action.
James, the brother of Jesus, writing to the early church puts it like this – “be doers of the word , and not merely hearers”. And so, for us all the Autumn is a time for action. First and foremost, it’ll mean action by opening our Bibles to the book of James, which we’ll be doing in our Sunday morning services at All Saints’, beginning on Sunday 9th September. I sometimes wonder if James compared the lives of Christians in the early church with the life of Jesus and wrote his letter to challenge and encourage them (and us) to live more like Jesus. I hope we all desire to be more like Christ, so let us make this a priority to come to church and learn together what James has to say to us today about being Christ-like.
But our response doesn’t stop there – it will also mean action on a variety of aspects of our church life over the Autumn:
Action on the building project – wonderfully, planning permission has been given for the Barber Rooms, for which we must thank our God. So, now is the time for us to fulfill our pledges, and for those who would still like to make a pledge there are leaflets in church by the Barber Rooms display.
Action in fundraising for the Barber Rooms – whilst we are very grateful for the legacy and pledges given, we still need to raise further funds. The appeal committee will be making applications to various Trusts, but your ideas for fundraising are most welcome.
Action in prayer – James encourages his readers to “ask God” – for wisdom (chapter 1), for what we need (chapter 4), and for healing and forgiveness (chapter 5). That is not to say that God is a slot machine, who dispenses exactly what we ask for, but he is our loving Father who answers our prayers as is best for us, and he loves it when we come to him in prayer. So rather than see prayer as the opposite of action, let us understand prayer as the vital partner to all our actions, and recommit ourselves to being a people of prayer.
If you want ideas of what to pray – check out the prayer diary on page 9; if you want to join others to pray and you are free midweek in the mornings then join with others at All Saints’ for informal Pause for Prayer (Tuesdays at 9.00am), Morning Prayer (Thursdays at 9.00am) or Parish Prayers (Fridays at 7.40am at 20 Market Place). It would also be great if a number of us join to pray for the Barber Rooms Project – we’ll be meeting for Appeal Prayers at 8.00pm on Tuesday 4th September in All Saints’ Church.
Brothers and sisters in Christ – let us be people with a living faith as hearers and doers of God’s Word!