Skip to main content

The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Theme: Good Works – the tool for our Witness

This week was one of those sad weeks for me, I lost a beloved Bishop from my home diocese of Lusaka, Zambia. He was a very close friend and him and I had a father/son relationship. He is the one that ordained me, he married us off, and was responsible for our coming to work here in the US. But as I struggled with my grief and sadness, I began to ask myself why I was really sad at his passing despite the comforting knowledge that the faithful in Christ do not die but live on in Christ Jesus, the resurrection. I then realized that I was mourning, partly because I will miss the good works of this bishop. He was a good man, he did so much good work to me. A compassionate, kind man for of grace.
I want to discuss with you good works as a tool for our Christian witness. We read a story from the book of Acts about a disciple called Tabitha of Joppa, also known as Dorcas in Greek. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. it seems, from the reading that she was a great help to the widows of her community. When she got ill and died, the beneficiaries of her good works mourned her with sadness. When Peter visited the funeral home, he was shown the witness of Tabitha’s good works. That witness and testimony of Tabitha’s good works was so strong that it led Peter to pray for her and she came back to life. On account of her good works, her life was restored. I also think that the other reason why people were attracted to Jesus Christ besides his preaching was his good works; the works of compassion, the works of kindness, the works of love and mercy. In fact in today’s gospel reading, .” Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe…”. People who followed Jesus Christ were attracted to him by his many good works.
The book of Acts from which we got the story of Tabitha was an attempt by the author to serve as a continuation of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ who came, lived, died and now lives in others. Jesus was a good man, who lived and did good works which included the feeding of the five thousand, the embrace of outcasts such as the Samaritan woman, the lepers and other marginalized groups of people, Jesus was truly a good man. I do believe that one of the reason why many people were attracted to Jesus besides him being a preacher was his good works. He reached out to all kinds of people regardless. Good works are works of compassion, kindness, love and mercy.
In Christian theology, good works, or simply works, are a person’s (exterior) actions or deeds, in contrast to inner qualities such as grace or faith. Good works are the consequence of salvation and not its justification. They are the sign of a sincere and grateful faith. Indeed what is love without good works, what is faith without good works, what is compassion, kindness, mercy without good works. Good works is part of our proclamation that Jesus is here, alive and active in our midst. You cannot separate faith from good works; Apostle James would call such a faith as dead. Our witness as a community of faith is in affirming that Jesus is alive and we do that through good works.

Two things come to mind for me about Tabitha.
1. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. she was intentional about it. She committed herself to do good works and acts of charity. Christians should be intentional and pursue the call to do good works. Good works usually
2. She looked for God in others. God is the source of good works. The good God came to reside with humanity through the person of Jesus Christ.

Good works are an important aspect of our witness to Christ’s life and ministry in our midst. Between our piety and reality is our works. We should continue to be attracted to good works. Good works should continue to inspire us as a community of faith.
Dear St. Michael’s, I proclaim to you, Good works, good works, good works and good works Amen

Leave a Reply