Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
I recently saw a blog which a writer used this scripture passage both to challenge the religious verbiage so common in our culture and to raise the bigger question of what it means to do the will of God. The writer answered this question by going to Matthew 25 (“whatever you to the least of these, you do to me.”) Another good response might have come from Luke 10:25-37 (Jesus explaining how to love our neighbor using the story of the Good Samaritan). In our tradition, doing the will of God is summarized in the promises of the baptismal covenant, the commitment we make to match what we believe with how we live our lives. (BCP, p. 304-305) The passage I quoted above reminds us that doing this is part of what it means to follow Jesus Christ. To quote in the Letter of James “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
This is not about “works righteousness” or earning our way into heaven, it is about responding to the gift of grace we have already received: about loving as we have been loved, about forgiving as we have been forgiven, and about giving the world concrete illustrations of the kingdom of God.
The word “Epiphany” means “manifestation” or “showing” and this season of Epiphany is a season set aside to show Jesus and share Jesus with the world. Over the course of the next few months, St. Luke’s will offer a number of different opportunities to learn how to do those things in very practical ways. We begin this coming Sunday at 11:30 am when members of Preble Street’s Faith Advocacy Network and Homeless Voices for Justice will be with us to talk about ways to respond to issues of poverty. Come hear about homelessness from those who are or who have been homeless. Come learn about serving those in need from professionals who do that work every day. Come discover what you can do to make a difference and put your faith in action. Come and make Epiphany real.