Faith and Works: C – P – R

Sunday’s Scripture ~ James 5:13-20

What? A sermon/blog titled C-P-R with Scripture from James? Is this where the medical community first got the idea for cardiopulmonary resuscitation?

Alas – no.

But there is some definite life-saving and life-giving business marinating in this passage of Scripture.

C – P – R

Confess – Pray – Reconcile

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Last week I spent my vacation serving as a member of a mission team with Surfing the Nations in Wahiawa, Hawaii. It was an incredible week of service and community building – not only with the students and adults from St. Luke’s UMC Orlando (the church Andrew serves) but also with the people of Hawaii.

We hosted a surf-n-swim party for children and families living in a transitional shelter. We fed 3500 people in 5 hours in a “supermarket” that we constructed from set up to serve to tear down under an overpass of one of Hawaii’s busiest highways. We entered and found solidarity with the working poor by spending a day walking – and riding the bus – in their shoes from looking for work to paying bills to buying groceries to seeking a safe place of refuge for the night.

As my friend Jed said, “It was a good hard week with eyes tired from holding back tears.” Tears of joy for the happiness the children shared for us, tears of restoration for the families that would have food to eat that day, tears for the healing of complacency, tears crying for justice.

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A week ago today our mission team was invited to join the StN staff in their day of Sabbath. We fasted. We worshiped. We experienced what the StN-ers phrased “speaking truth into one another’s life” – and that speaking truth came through C-P-R.

Confess – Pray – Reconcile

Confessing – Praying – Reconciling will help bring the wanderer back. These acts are our road map. These acts sustain us in this life. These acts draw us close.

To God.

To our neighbors.

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I presently find myself in a dry spiritual place. I spend so much time planning and preparing for the life of the church that I, at times, cast off – or eliminate – my faith presence in the church. That’s when what I do becomes a job instead of a calling – something to do rather than a true vocation.

I confess my wandering.  I don’t like where I am. I need a spiritual resuscitation. Confess – Pray – Reconcile are these steps I need to get there. God will lead me. Loved ones and accountability partners will walk alongside me.  But I have to first engage these practices.

If you find yourself in a dry place, consider what it is you have been doing or not doing. How can C-P-R aid you? How can C-P-R revive your spiritual life? How can C-P-R put an end to your wandering and guide you back to a sure course that is led by God?

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Prayer of Confession: God of creation, giver of life: we confess our anxiety about this very day, which you have made. Forgive us. Lord Jesus Christ, bread of life: we acknowledge our refusal to receive the grace that sustains us. Have mercy upon us. Holy Spirit, giver of new life, we declare the limitations of our energies; our resources; our gifts. Grant us your peace.

Words of Assurance: Hear the good news: God leads us beside still waters and restores our souls, and in God’s presence there is sanctuary. Let us give thanks for the eternal presence of the One who is life and peace. Amen.*

*”Self-Sufficiency and Pride” from Prayers and Liturgies of Confession and Assurance, Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009), 25.

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