As Christians, we express our faith through ideas and practices lived out daily.
At its opening session, the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board heard from the Rev. Cynthia Campbell, pastor of Highland Presbyterian Church here. She expounded on the ways the faithful have lived out their faith, from the early church to the present day.
Our ideas, beliefs and theologies matter, as they shape how we live our lives. Campbell referenced James 1:22 — “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.”
The early church took this command seriously, implementing a three-year learning process for new believers before they were baptized. This process merged ideas and practices by teaching believers the story and encouraging them to practice new behaviors while renouncing their old lifestyles.
Members of monastic traditions live their lives shaped around spiritual practices and beliefs. During the Reformation, some thought that the monastic tradition had been corrupted and that people should be encouraged to live out their faith in their daily lives.
“(John Calvin) wanted all of us to do what monastic communities had carefully taught themselves how to do,” Campbell said.
Calvin urged Christians to read Scripture, sing the Psalms, pray individually and communally, hold each other accountable and experience regular union with Christ through the Lord’s Supper.
Campbell also spoke about the theology of work, in which there is goodness in every type of work that contributes to the common good or the welfare of society. There is value in work done well and done the right way.
How do we live our faith today? Campbell encouraged the board to engage in the spiritual practices of prayer, singing, worship and reading Scripture and to share and care with and for others. We should also advocate with others for justice, freedom and peace and share our testimonies of faith in God.