Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
- (Sufi Poet Rumi)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Faith Without Works

I heard a sermon from Unitarian Univeralist minister Rev. Christine Robinson today as a podcast and was struck by something she said – “faith without works dies” (, April 6, 2009 sermon ). By this she means that if we don’t act on that in which we put faith, the bedrock of meaning and hope in our lives will dwindle away. I wonder what you have faith in? Perhaps it is that we are here to serve? Maybe you feel that love is the highest aspiration of human relationships and endeavors? You might also say that you have faith in God, Unitarian Universalism, human possibility, or Compassionate Communication. In any of these value rich professions of faith, what actions live out the deep core of your being? What is the dream of living in this world, and how can you help make it so?

Perhaps you are unsure how to have faith, for love seems so far away or hard to do. Serving others doesn’t seem to make any difference. Maybe God, your congregation, people you know, or the 4 steps of Nonviolent Communication have failed you. How can one have faith in one’s deepest longings and dreams when it just doesn’t work out the way you want it to, or need it to?

Here’s the paradox for me. Faith isn’t to “work out” or “produce results.” But resting in faith, connecting to that divine energy of belonging and being beyond wrongdoing and rightdoing, can nourish you to do work based on this faith without being attached to outcomes. In this way your faith can grow as you cocreate with life around you. By resting in our faith, we can feel how life’s call is a clear bell sounding full of promise, an invitation to joy, and in the parlance of nonviolent communication, the bittersweet a request that may or may not produce results.

I sometimes find myself feeling overwhelmed thinking of the heart and body ache in this world. I can either work too hard to try to save the world and wear myself out, or not even want to venture out of the house because the “to do” list is too long, too demanding, “too important.” If I rest for just a few minutes, as I am doing now, letting my feelings of sadness or despair connect me to my needs, values, and longings, I find my spirits uplifted and prepared now to put myself out there into the world, working to build upon my faith, and maybe, just maybe, to build the beloved community.

In faith,


1 comment:

  1. Sweet for me to discover and savor these words today.