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Brother James 010312
This week the book of James is included in our reading selections, and I can feel it!
James is direct, sometimes harsh but quite direct in what he says, and the directness with which he speaks is very refreshing. With James however, every sentence is a blog! James jumps around from sentence to sentence and topic to topic, and it is therefore hard to follow.
Because of the wide range of topics covered so directly, many have thought that the book of James was a letter written to the churches of the Mediterranean sometimes after the martyrdom of Peter. Those churches were disturbed and in distress because of Stephen’s stoning and James letter is a letter of reassurance and affirmation.
In the letter James tries to summarize the lessons of Jesus and the life a Christian is to lead. It is as though James is saying ‘Let’s think about all this! Why are we Christians? What do we believe? Why did Stephen die?’
But if James thought the early churches’ Christian believers were isolated, living in fear and unsure of everything, what would he think of us? Christians, if they’re doing it right, may now also feel isolated. We have to doubt every word we hear from the media and from people who believe what they’ve heard. We have to turn back to the Bible for the simplest, the most basic of life’s questions. We’re as isolated by our culture as the early Christians were isolated by living in the midst of Jewish, Greek and Roman cultures.
I urge us all to read carefully the book of James, and maybe memorize. There are also numerous commentary books available on James, as well as online resources. I can’t say of course that any are correct, but several of them seem to lead the reader to a deeper and more profound reading and memorization of James.
NOTE: Our church has started a 3X daily prayer using the Book of Common Prayer—a liturgy for Ordinary Radicals assembled by Shane Claibourne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and others. It is available online and on Facebook also. Pray with us, three times a day. http://www.commonprayer.net
Pray for peace
1The Lord says to my lord, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”
2The Lord sends out from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your foes.
3Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day you lead your forces on the holy mountains. From the womb of the morning, like dew, your youth will come to you.
4The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
5The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
6He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter heads over the wide earth.
7He will drink from the stream by the path; therefore he will lift up his head.
20Wisdom cries out in the street;
in the squares she raises her voice.
21At the busiest corner she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
23Give heed to my reproof;
I will pour out my thoughts to you;
I will make my words known to you.
24Because I have called and you refused,
have stretched out my hand and no one heeded,
25and because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
26I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when panic strikes you,
27when panic strikes you like a storm,
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
28Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently, but will not find me.
29Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30would have none of my counsel,
and despised all my reproof,
31therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way
and be sated with their own devices.
32For waywardness kills the simple,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33but those who listen to me will be secure
and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.”
4Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 4Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Related articles are presented without endorsement
- Fresh from the Book of James (thecovenantof1.wordpress.com)
- What does it mean that some Mennonites observe the Lords Supper and Baptism as a Memorial rather than a Sacrament (wiki.answers.com)
- A Pacifist College Considers the National Anthem (nytimes.com)
- A Shout-Out to My Mennonite Pacifists Out There… (paulburkhart.wordpress.com)
- Review: Erasing Hell, Chapter Five (chadelliott.wordpress.com)
- A Survey of the Book of the New Testament (compasschurchamman.wordpress.com)
- Black kids in Mennonite families bridge 2 worlds (goerie.com)