Doers of the Word
“Be doers of the word, not merely hearers …”
My husband recently returned from a week in rural West Virginia, where he was one of St. Alban’s Appalachia Service Project (ASP) volunteers. ASP is a Christian service ministry that provides volunteers for badly needed home repairs. As a builder or handyman, Rich is an excellent tenor. I can tell you he was a little nervous before he left: “I didn’t even take shop in school!” Now he won’t stop talking about his ASP experience and can’t wait to go again next year.
Like so many of us, my husband lives in his head. His work as a professor and researcher, as well as much of what he does at St. Alban’s, is invisible to most and sometimes even to him. So when he finally found a place where there was a cell phone signal (the Dairy Queen) and called home, I heard a very excited man talking about correcting roof angles and joists and the benefit of using screws rather than nails and pouring concrete and… Who is this person?
But more important, he was and is still so moved by his new friends, including the owner of the house his team was repairing—the retired coal miner with debilitating lung disease who always had coffee ready for them, who said he wasn’t a good reader but had read the whole Bible, and who was full of gratitude, talking openly about the movement of the Holy Spirit in his life. This household seemed like one of many that probably had to choose between food or medicine and fixing the house.
Rich and our other ASP volunteers can tell you of the deep joy that comes from the hands-on work of service, done in the name of a loving God, that can change lives. They would probably tell you that their own lives are among those that have been changed. This is what we’re about at St. Alban’s, isn’t it? We love our worship services, the music, the sermons, and the experience of praying together. We gather in groups to support each other spiritually and grow in faith. We certainly like to learn, our Christian formation offerings are always popular. But all this enrichment and spiritual growth must take us somewhere that is not about us. James 1 goes on to say “…if any are hearers of the Word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror…”
We are not mirror-gazers here. We live in dark and troubled times; as Christians, we are called to act, to bear witness to the light of God’s love and turn it up, as bright as we can. There are countless ways to be doers of the Word through St. Alban’s, too numerous to detail here. If you are looking for a new path, St. Alban’s website www.stalbansdc.org is a good place to start; look under Outreach and Community. The Sunday Yellow Pages frequently lists new opportunities.
For now, God bless our ASP missioners, Doers of the Word: Clara Bartram, Edward Bartram, Calvin Burns, Cecilia Butcher, Matthew Cunningham, Katie Farr, Marcy Fisher, Declan Fitzgerald, Emma Hazard, Rich Jensen, Joe Mclean, Woodfen McLean, Colleen Morrison, Emma Morrison, Deborah Potter, Kendall Price, Joe Price, Stephen Shaffran, Elizabeth Shillman, Kathryn Shillman, Evelyn Smyth, Rich Turner, and Bob Witten.