James and his buddies sat around their designated table in the open market square drinking coffee and chatting — every day.
Their dialogues ran the gamut from the economy, politics and religion to changing lifestyles. Often, they zeroed in on the teachings of a recently crucified teacher who had come back to life.
Most men there had learned or experienced a bit about the newly minted religious leader because people were talking about his good news. Several, with their families, left their traditional belief and adopted the ways of the one called Messiah (anointed one).
The others admired James’ talent to summarize their far fetching conversations into concise, easy to remember proverbs. They encouraged him to put pen to scroll to present his well-organized insight about religion, politics and life itself.
Although publicly he laughed at such suggestions, he secretly memorized his thoughts and observations, and later he wrote them on scraps of parchment – just in case.
One day he collected what he had written, composed a general letter to be forwarded to those who followed the one referred to as Master (Jesus Christ).
It was circulated around the first century world and read during public worship.
Centuries later his letter was chosen to be included in the New Testament of the Bible.
It became the Christian operational manual — dealing with a person’s relationship with God, other people and equally as important, with oneself.
His observations précised above — show me what you do, and I will tell you what you believe — stands as a beacon in today’s environment.
Former FBI Director James Comey, in his book, A Higher Loyalty; Truth, Lies and Leadership, describes the United States (and maybe other countries by comparison) as places where, “basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded …”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently said, “hate speech and the politics of division are creating a ‘dangerous path’ for Canada.”
They both reflect what St. Paul wrote, approximately 2,000 years earlier, “we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth.”
We may reach the same conclusion after reading, hearing and viewing what various media present to us hourly.
So, what can we do to change the world?
James would say let your faith (value systems) and actions be indistinguishable — one the mirror image of the other.
Canada’s Prime Minister vowed to, “remain positive and remain pulling people together, pulling communities together right across this country.”
James Comey hopes that people would be inspired, “to choose a higher loyalty, to find truth among lies and to pursue ethical leadership.”
Saint Paul zoomed in on the three most important characteristics needed to live a full life — faith, hope, love. Then he elevated love as the greatest of all.
Could loving all people be the foundation upon which the United Nations built its mission?
The word itself may not appear in its Charter (signed June 26, 1945), but the basic meaning of human love must be believed and practiced in order to accomplish the UN’s lofty ideals and mission.
The UN’s goals include international peace, friendly relations, equal rights, solving international problems, fundamental freedoms and providing a “centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.”
Surely these goals cannot be attained without a hefty dose of human love within and surrounding those entrusted with the care and well being of every individual anywhere on this earth.
This month, while giving thanks for what we have, let us all commit to put our faith into action, and our actions into our faith.