End of the week and ready for the Labor Day weekend. I am heading to Indianapolis for a wedding and will return in time for Sunday services. Safe travels everyone and enjoy some downtime!
James 2:1–17 (NRSV)
2 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? 2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
There is so much in this passage that I will not try and reduce it to one thought. Plus, I am preaching on it this weekend and want to save something for Sunday! However let me encourage you to practice lectio divina which means “divine reading.” It is a spiritual practice whereby you take a few moments to read the passage multiple times. At the end of each reading you pause and allow a moment for the Holy Spirit to speak and direct your thoughts. Maybe it is a word that jumps out at you or an idea. After each reading you note to yourself what God says. I’d love to hear from you either in the comments or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org about what you get from the passage.
Holy Spirit, guide my thoughts and direct my heart to your truth. Reveal to me what you desire me to hear and act upon. In your good name I trust. Amen.