Week 8: James

Day 1: James 1
Day 2: James 2:1-3:12
Day 3: James 3:13-18
Day 4: James 4:1-10
Day 5: James 4:11-17
Day 6: James “5:1-12
Day 7: James 5:13-20

Draw your church together, O God, into one great company of disciples, together following our teacher Jesus Christ in every walk of life, together serving in Christ’s mission to the world, and togther witnessing to your love whereever you wil send us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

ELW 75

I realize that asking Lutherans to read James is a bit liking giving a cat a bath. However, I’ve given cats baths in the past and survived, so I think we’ll be ok. Lutherans tend to run away from James because we think that it contradicts what we believe as Lutherans. Lot’s of things in the Bible contradict what we believe as Lutherans, none of the books in the Bible were written to Lutherans. When it comes down to it, James doesn’t contradict our faith as much as we think it does. Luther might not have been right about this book.

Our faith should compel is to act. Our faith should compel us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. Our faith should compel us to love one another as Christ loves us. Our faith should compel us to care for the widow, the orphan, and the alien in our land.

It is most certainly true that we are justified by faith through grace apart from works, because we can’t save ourselves, only God can save us (and already has through Jesus). Baptism isn’t a free pass to ignore issues of social justice, rather it’s an invitation into the hard work of creating heaven on earth.

James sees the hypocrisy of those in the church, those who have ears but don’t hear. Perhaps, we ignore James because we see ourselves in those he is calling out for their lack of works and thus their lack of faith. It’s easy to ignore the problems in our society. But following Christ has never and will never be about doing what is easy. Faith without works is in deed dead, for Christ calls us to work for the life of the world. Amen.

1. Do you think that faith without works is dead? If yes, why? If no, why?

2. We are all guilty of hypocrisy, where do you see hypocrisy in your life? What can you do to change that?

3. What is one thing you can do this week to put your faith to work?

How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord,

is laid for your faith in his excellent Word!

What more can he say than to you he has said,

to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?