3 Things to Know About UCOM's Faith
February 1st, 2023
1. Faith is not a static nebulous noun. It is an action verb.
It is not what we think or feel or even believe. It is the activity that reveals our essence.
This kind of faith is not orthodoxy (saying or believing prescribed doctrines). It is orthopraxis (doing right). It is doing the right things with the right motivations and intentions.
As the biblical writer James put it, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from works, and I by my works will show you faith, (James 2:18 NRSV).”
A specific example of active faith in the book of James that is particularly significant in light of UCOM’s mission.
“If a sibling 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, (James 2:15-17, NRSV).”
Thoughts and prayers are not enough. True faith involves deliberately doing things to enrich lives—our own and our neighbors.
2. Faith is the reality of things hoped for and the actions needed to bring hope to fruition.
UCOM claims to bring, not only resources for living but hope for an abundant life. It is out of our faith in action coupled with our neighbors’ active faith that we move forward alongside people who are playing against the odds to beat poverty.
Faith is a dream-identifier and a dream-fulfiller. We look beyond what currently is to what we want our lives to be. We pinpoint our aspirations, and create goals and identify objectives to achieve them. When we launch into action on those components we are exercising the kind of faith that puts flesh on the skeleton of hope.
When we take these steps in community we are demonstrating active faith that gives substance to our individual and collective hope and dreams.
3. Faith is the process of acting faithfully.
A lot of battling poverty is just showing up. Faithful action is consistent action.
Because of our faith UCOM is not “one and done” or “three strikes and you’re out”. We are present to celebrate successes (even small ones) with people, and we are here when people stumble. The road of success is not a straight line. Everyone has ups and downs and UCOM is consistently here for people wherever their journey leads.
We are also faithful and consistent with whom we support. Everyone who comes to us is provided as much as possible with whatever they need to encourage their dreams and to provide for their emergencies.
It is UCOM’s policy and our faithful commitment that we turn no one away without offering every resource we can to help them meet immediate needs. In addition we offer options for people to survive and thrive in a society that often chooses who is deserving of our attention and who is unworthy.
Whatever barriers people face in their lives, whatever obstacles need to be overcome we are here to listen, to help as we are asked, and to believe in other humans regardless of their circumstances.
UCOM’s faith aligns with that of our siblings in the United Church of Christ and many other faith communities, “Wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”
These are just some of my observations on UCOM’s core value of faith. Please share your reflections in the comment section below.