My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!? ” What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity. James 2:14-17 Common English Bible
This past week was the Jewish festival of Sukkot or The Festival of Booths. In the time of wandering in the wilderness after their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, the Hebrew descendants of Jacob were tent dwellers. They would build booths or temporary shelters to keep them safe from dust storms, hot sun and rain. These temporary shelters, much like tents of our day, could be moved without much trouble as the Hebrew people wandered from place to place in the wilderness. An occasional sukkah (booth) (singular form of the plural sukkot) can still be seen along the countryside as Bedouin shepherds still use these forms of shelter as they sleep out under the stars in the fields.
Many people in our own community could benefit from a sukkah because some have nothing to keep them safe from the elements in extreme cold or hot weather. According to the 2013 Report on Georgia’s Homelessness, over 17,000 people in Georgia were displaced from their homes because of one hardship or another, most of them unemployed or underemployed. While we can’t do everything to alleviate homelessness, we can do something to help those who suffer by reaching out with the love of Christ to change their world.
On Saturday, Oct. 10, Covington First UMC will host more than 80 organizations who offer services to those in our community who need help in some way. Many churches and organizations in the community have been busy collecting coats, sweaters, blankets and food to feed those who need our help. People are busy planning to cook food which will be offered to guests in the community who come to the festival. A fall festival of fun events will provide a temporary distraction from the hopelessness that some people face all year long.
How can you help? You can collect items such as blankets, canned food, or reusable canvas shopping bags to be given out that day and drop your donations off by one of the local churches or bring them to Covington First UMC. You can pray for our community and for an end to homelessness and hunger in our community. And you can come on Oct. 10 to be the hands and feet of Christ in an active way as together we work to make a difference in people’s lives.
Don’t miss your chance to change our world! See you Saturday, Oct. 10!
Rev. Jan McCoy is the Associate Pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at covingtonfirst.org.