- Job 4:1-6, 31:16-23;
- Mark 12:41-44
- Job 4:1-6, 31:16-23;
Here are two fifty-cent words for you – orthodoxy and orthopraxy. I don’t use these words very often in conversation or sermonizing because they sound egalitarian to me; I try to avoid being pretentious. They do have a place and this is one of them as we think on a deeper level about our final message in our series, “Women of Faith.”
Orthodoxy simply means “right beliefs.” A certain aspect of our religious tradition centers on the concept of right beliefs. For instance, we believe that God is love – this is the “right” way to interpret the presence and activities of God throughout human history. Orthopraxy is defined as “right practice.” The assumption is that a certain set of activities reflect the heart of God to the world and thus are the right things for followers of Jesus to do. Sometimes we over emphasize one of these at the cost of the other – we might elevate “right beliefs” at the expense of “right practice” or vice versa.
Obedience to me is the grace-filled embodiment of both orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Our faith is empowered by our belief in God’s loving and life-giving presence. Our service is empowered by our obedience to Christ’s sacrificial example. The invitation of God is to live the faith-life balanced between these two expressions. We each have a part to play, a role in God’s earthly community. God’s invitation is to live an obedient life that seeks above all to love God and love our neighbor through actions entrenched in mercy and grace.
I encourage you to take time and read each of the scriptures above as you move into reflection on the questions below. I hope that they will encourage you as you ponder what it means to be a person who responds to the needs of the world because you believe it is part of being a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. I also pray that God bless the reading of God’s Word and the meditations of your heart.
- Who in your circle represents, as nearly perfect as possible, a balance between belief and practice? Write down one or two examples from this person’s journey that demonstrates this.
O God, in Your Son, Jesus, we see perfect obedience. He is the embodiment of someone who heard your call, lived out your commandments, and invited others to do the same. In the widow of Zarephath we see someone who is willing to be obedient, even to the point of death for herself and her son. Jesus further illustrates her willingness to be obedient as he lays down his life for each of us. Help me to be a person who is grounded enough in what I believe so that I might be a person moved to obedience as I follow your way of life in this world. Amen.