Faith without works and the people of Syria.

A fascinated Gnome.

Today I made it through communion without crying. It’s the first time I’ve done so since Mom’s death. Granted, I cried in during the final hymn as we sang the word “perish” because perish is such a heavy, impossible word from which there can be no relief or reprieve.

So I hold quantum theory against human words like “perish”- words that lack the humility of what we cannot see. I hold science and faith and poetry and beauty against words which end what we can neither control nor explain. I realize this is a personal preference. I understand there are others who need to believe Christ’s love is something they have earned by saying His name.

Church is always a comfort, a place when the words in my head stop bustling for privilege and paper. I listened without worrying about what I should take away. Listened without holding an ear open for the teachable moment.

The Eldest bumbled through an extended rotation of hiccups while Gnome copied words from The Book of Common Prayer on the back of a blue prayer card. She wanted me to see- and the sight was a succor of soothing verses.

My mind kept coming back to the reading from James 2:1-26. This is an uncomfortable passage for many who believe once-saved-always-saved doctrines but much less threatening to those (like myself) who believe Christ’s love and mercy includes every single human being without regard for class, style, dogma, creed, or religious belief.

Syrian refugee children (via

How many ways can we read these verses in light of the desperate political and economic refugees at our doorsteps?

How many ways can we throw money at a problem without opening the doors of our spacious homeland to those in need?

How many times can we smile, sign a check, and then say, “Um, I did my part and see you later”?

How many excuses can we formulate for our selfishness? How can we say people envy our freedom when the only freedoms we exercise include the right to carry guns and go nuts over football? Surely there are some who envy our foolishness and hubris but this is not the same thing. To give someone a Bible and then refuse them entry into your home is a defamation of what we’ve been taught.

Surely at some point we must choose between two opposing principles- the preservation of our vapid consumerist lifestyles and love for all the world’s human beings. We must choose between this world and the world of Christ’s love. We must choose between materialist Mammon and spiritual brotherhood.

There’s no middle ground, I’m afraid. We MUST choose, knowing deep inside that the decision to keep refugees out is a choice we make out of fear, mistrust, and selfishness. It is a choice that reflects our lack of faith in love. It is a choice that reflects our love is limited by the heat we pack to protect it. And it breaks my heart to know Christ’s love is used to sanction self-defense against innocent victims of war in this world we have created.

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