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Archive for October 23rd, 2018

Lessons:  Acts 15: 12-22a, Psalm 133, James 1: 1-12, St. Matthew 13: 54-58

Prayer of the Day:

Heavenly Father, shepherd of Your people, You raised up James the Just, brother of our Lord, to lead and guide Your Church. Grant that we may follow his example of prayer and reconciliation and be strengthened by the witness of his death; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Biography: St. James of Jerusalem (or “James the Just”) is referred to by St. Paul as “the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19). Some modern theologians believe that James was a son of Joseph and Mary and, therefore, a biological brother of Jesus. But throughout most of the Church (historically, and even today), Paul’s term “brother” is understood as “cousin” or “kinsman,” and James is thought to be the son of a sister of Joseph or Mary who was widowed and had come to live with them. Along with other relatives of our Lord (except His mother), James did not believe in Jesus until after His resurrection (John 7:3-5; 1 Corinthians 15:7). After becoming a Christian, James was elevated to a position of leadership within the earliest Christian community. Especially following St. Peter’s departure from Jerusalem, James was recognized as the bishop of the Church in that holy city (Acts 12:17; 15:12ff.). According to the historian Josephus, James was martyred in AD 62 by being stoned to death by the Sadducees. James authored the Epistle in the New Testament that bears his name. In it, he exhorts his readers to remain steadfast in the one true faith, even in the face of suffering and temptation, and to live by faith the life that is in Christ Jesus. Such a faith, he makes clear, is a busy and active thing, which never ceases to do good, to confess the Gospel by words and actions, and to stake its life, both now and forever, in the cross. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

 

Reflection:  James was quite important in the early history of the Church as indicated in the Scripture references cited above in James’ bio. He  was witness to the Resurrection.  He believed.  In his letter, James did not assert his family lineage but his vocation:  “a servant (also translated as slave) of God and the Lord Jesus Christ”(chapter 1).  James, the half-brother of Jesus, was His servant as all who are baptized.  He knew that it was only by the “implanted Word”, could a man and a woman be saved:

 19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1)

James wrote of anger.  We live in an age of anger, even extreme anger.  He encourages us to be “slow to speak, slow to anger”, as even our ‘righteous anger’ does not, “…produce the righteousness of God.”  So no matter how self-righteously I go on and on about this or that issue or cause, even issues and causes that are important, my words will not produce, create, and form in me the righteousness of God.  Self-righteousness only produces “filthiness and rampant wickedness”. There is only one Seed, the Seed of Abraham, died  and risen who can stanch the flow of anger and produce the righteousness of God: As James wrote, the implanted Word can save your soul. He implants in us faith in the Lord who imparts the wisdom of forgiveness.  Implanted into the womb of James’ mother, Mary.  James would have heard the narrative of the Annunciation by the archangel Gabriel to his Mother from his Mother!  James’ Lord is the Word made flesh, Jesus the Christ. The same Word implanted by the careful and faithful  preaching and teaching of Christ  for us and for our salvation, as St. James so preached and taught. 

We sing of James, Christ’s brother

            Who at Jerusalem

Told how God loved the Gentiles

            And, in Christ, welcomed them.

Rejoicing in salvation

            May we too, by God’s grace,

Extend Christ’s invitation

            To all the human race.

(“By All Your Saints in Warfare”,Lutheran Service Book, #518, stanza 27)

 

 

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