James 3:16-4:6 I hope you have been reading the letter of James this week. As I said, he does not pull his punches. The section we heard today concerns the wisdom of God verses the wisdom of the world. The first part of chapter 3 concerns the way we talk to God and to each other. James says the tongue is a fire, and can set fires wherever it goes! The same tongue that blesses our God and Lord, curses men, who are made in the image of God. James says, Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.
Show me your faith apart from your works, and I, by my works, will show you my faith. – James Last Sunday we started reading the letter of St. James, and today we read from the second chapter. One thing you can say for sure, James does not pull any punches. He tells it like it is. In the first section, verses 1-5, James wrote to warn the church about favoritism. Do we look with more favor on someone who comes into our assembly with fine cloths and jewelry, and do we look with scorn on the poorly dressed? I think that here in our little church, we are not quick to judge a person by their clothing or their jewelry. I remember the church of my youth, though, when all the men wore nice suits, and the ladies wore nice dresses, and sometime gloves and hats.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:17-27 Today, we will begin the study of the letter of St. James, which we will hear from for the next three Sundays, as we have today. This letter is attributed to James the Just, whom we hear from in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 15. There you can read about the first council of Jerusalem, where James was a strong voice in support of the Gentile converts to Christianity. James went on to be the first bishop of Jerusalem.