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Faith in Our Actions

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Nostalgia, in the form of old, cherished television programs, has become a comfortable friend for many of us in these chaotic times. Whether it’s knowing how the story goes or how it will end, stepping back into something familiar feels good.

Watching a favorite episode of the old television series, M*A*S*H, reminded me why its stories and characters still touch and teach me almost forty years after the program ended.

In a scene featuring a conversation between Chief Surgeon, Hawkeye Pierce, and the hospital unit’s Chaplain, Father Mulcahy, the latter is lamenting that he doesn’t feel as if he is making much of a difference. His prayers, worship services, counseling, and confessionals don’t appear to provide much comfort or support to those he is charged to shepherd.

Hawkeye, an incredibly skilled surgeon not known for sharing or relying on the faith Father Mulcahy professes and preaches, listens attentively to the priest’s own confession about his concerns that he isn’t doing enough, or even doing anything right.

Then, the semi-agnostic doctor shares that, as good as he knows his own skills are, more than once during an operation he wasn’t good enough to bring about the positive outcome for the patient that transpired.

He assures Father Mulcahy that he does make a difference.

Do you feel you are making much of a difference?


My guess is that you may be wondering now and again if you are doing enough, or even if you are doing anything right. Are you asking yourself if your faith is strong enough to get through today, let alone the end of this pandemic?

Going back to Hawkeye’s surgical experiences, what resonates for me is that he just did what he knew to do. Whether he noticed anything other than that during the surgeries he performed, or if his awareness of more going on was conscious, what we who believe in God might term an additional Helping Hand, was not clear. Perhaps Hawkeye had thought about what he was experiencing for a while; perhaps it formed for him during this conversation. But he did know to honor the truth of it when Father Mulcahy needed to hear it the most.

You and I often don’t know what, if anything, we do actually does make a difference in people’s lives, at least in terms of what we think it should do. These times in which we now live strain with the individual and collective desire for tangible proof, concrete results based on our actions that we do not strive in vain. We want to believe we can understand and take charge of a rogue virus that doesn’t care one bit about what we think or how we want to live our lives. It doesn’t care who we are or whom we love. Are you at a point of wanting, needing to know that you can make the world a better place right now? I can assure you; I know that I am.

I can also assure you that God knows that too, far better than I do, of course, because God knows you to the very core of your being and trusts you with a part of creation no one else can handle.

So, please, keep doing what you are doing. God is with you, making a difference through you in ways you may feel and glimpse now and again. By God’s grace, power, and love, you are making the world a better place, whether or not you are aware of exactly when or how. Without you, God’s work would be much harder.

You make God’s work easier by doing your part.

About the Author

Photo of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

Photo courtesy of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.

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