March 22, 2020

Caremongering

Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.
—Psalm 14:1

The 14th Psalm appears to be about the folly of atheism. But it's not, really. When I look at the two halves of the first verse separately, then put them back together, something becomes clear. First, it's not about those who loudly proclaim that they believe there is no God, but for those who believe in their hearts that God doesn't exist. It's easy to imagine that such people speak aloud of believing in God, even though they do not really believe what they're saying. And second, the psalmist wrote in an age when kindness was lacking. 

When we combine these two thoughts (as, indeed, the psalmist no doubt intended), we see that a true faith in God is belied by kindness and good works. As we read in the New Testament...
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, “Go 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. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. [James 2:14-18]
I think we're having the meaning of all this explained to us right now. As a dangerous virus is being spread across the globe, there is a lot of price-gouging and scaremongering. But we see all that being counteracted by generosity and something that in Canada is being termed caremongering—people co├Ârdinating needs with resources to make sure everyone is taken care of. When we show God's love to our neighbors, there's very little need to talk about our faith—our actions are already speaking much more loudly than words ever would.

So, to paraphrase Psalm 14:1, It's foolish to speak of faith in God if there is no kindness in our actions, for our hearts clearly say otherwise. What God and the world are asking for during these days of crisis is a people who do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God. [Micah 6:8]

May the faith I claim make itself known in kind actions, dear God, both in the present crisis and throughout my life; in Jesus' Name, who taught me to pray: Our Father... 

Crossposted to Psalm Today

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