When I first preached at Arlington Community Church United Church of Christ in 2010, I used the phrase, “Faith is a Verb,” naming that ancient Hebrew and Greek have verbs for our idea of “faith.” This idea of “faith is a verb” combines the notions from modern English of the noun, “faith,” with the verbs, “to trust” and “to believe.” It is also a call to act out our faith, and, as we sing every week, to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. Faith as a noun calls us to contemplate, meditate, and pray quietly, which are all important to our spiritual life, yet they cannot be the end point; faith as a verb calls us to put our hands to work to bring peace and joy to our world calls us to put our feet on the ground to walk and march for justice.
We are at a time in the life of our congregation when “Faith is a Verb” is really being put into action. Have you noticed the activity? The kitchen is being refurbished, so that we can continue being a place that is used by the community. A Landscaping Team is working to redevelop plans for the external face we present to the world, as we make our space an even more inviting, peaceful, spiritual place of rest and renewal. There is a newly formed green team, focusing on environmental justice and our individual actions to help our planet. The Mission and Social Justice Board has been active in figuring out how to respond to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I am connecting more deeply into North Richmond and the Iron Triangle of Richmond (We gave 48 backpacks and school supplies to a recent program for local youth, with much thanks from the creator, Marcus Byrd-Ray), and I am volunteering to help in the medical area as protests against white supremacy and rallies for racial justice occur in our region. I imagine all of this will push our hands, hearts and feet into verbing our faith.
It feels like our faith at Arlington Community Church is living, breathing, doing. It feels like God has given us a jolt of caffeine, to get us up from our deep contemplation and go do the faith. It feels exciting, and yes, perhaps a bit exhausting, and to me it feels like God is at the center of it.
So how are you verbing the faith these days? How are you experiencing Arlington Community Church as a verb these days? Along with the Pastor Parish Relations Team (Elena, Barry, and Susan Y), I look forward to hearing your comments in these upcoming months!