Year B, Proper 18, RCL, James 2:1-17
It is an honor to be with you this morning on what I pray will be the first of many days, weeks and months ahead. I won’t spend a lot of time introducing myself this morning, since I know that we’ll have plenty of time to get to know each other, if not today then sometime in the near future.
One thing I will share about myself today is that I am a big sports fan. With few exceptions and to my wife’s chagrin, I will watch just about any game at any time, especially if it is college football. This weekend was like a buffet of football joy. Having been born and raised in
The most famous coach in
The letters in the New Testament are filled with maxims from
The issues that James is tackling in the first part of chapter 2, most likely a letter to the church in
And in much the same vein, he is challenging them to think about how their faith is limited if they do not follow that faith with action. To simply say, “Yes, I believe in Jesus,” is not enough if you aren’t willing to reach out to those who are both poor in spirit and poor in the wallet. If someone says, “I’m hungry,” and all we say is “Well, Jesus loves you,” without pointing them towards Religious Community Services or even offering them a bite to eat, then what good is our faith?
Faith by itself is like having a great new set of tires without having the car to put them on. They’ll only get you so far. Our actions are the evidence that we are living our faith. Faith is a verb, not a noun. It is something that we have and something we do, simultaneously. Like General Neyland’s Seven Game Maxims, neither is more important than the other one.
None of these instructions from James or any of the other New Testament writers are about being better follower of Christ than the person next to you. In fact, I’d say it’s quite the opposite. It’s about being a better follower of Christ today than you were yesterday. There is this tension that we hold between our corporate following of Christ and our personal following of Christ. We live in this community, not only of
I pray that as we continue to grow in the grace of God, that we will find new ways to live our faith, to care for all those who may be lacking in physical and spiritual needs, and to be doers of the Word, not merely hearers.