I don’t know if you have been watching the football, and I write this before Wednesday’s semi-final. Up to this point in the Euros I have got on with things downstairs in my office, confident that I will be able to follow the game based on the cheers and groans of the rest of the family upstairs. The technique has stood me in good stead thus far, but I may be tempted tonight.
However, it is true that, with the increase in our ability to see news from other parts of the world, we have become very good at interpreting things by the cheers and groans of the rest of the human family. Are we guilty though of responding to it with a smile or an “Oh well” and going to make ourselves another cup of coffee, which is my usual response to the football?
James 2:14-17 says this: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “God in peace, keep warm and eat your fill” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” Over the last few months, we have had conversations about fundraising in all the churches. It is a very practical response to our situation, but we are also responding to spiritual need. Paul’s letter to the Romans tells us “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
We have coffee and cake, dinner and dancing, concerts and conversation to offer, but more than that, we have a hope and a joy in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that we long to share with the world. It is hard to know how to sometimes and perhaps easiest to do it through the sort of good works that James speaks of, but sharing our faith in response the cheers and groans of the world around us is more important even than winning the football and the love of God comes close when we offer prayer, love, or a hot meal.