My evangelical roots helped me stay connected to the Holy Scriptures and to the message of individual calling and salvation. I’m thankful for that. Later in life, I came to appreciate a broader palette for the Good News. Not that the early days and ways were incorrect but that the thinking and frame of reference was singular in a world of multiples.
The epistle of James shows that the mystery of the Gospel integrates the whole plan for the universe and humankind’s central role. It is an internal call for righteous connection to the Godhead and an exercise in participation for the communion of the saints. The plan for salvation brings listening to the primary place in the believer while always maintaining a quality of wholesome talk in our relationships.
The snapshots of duality are obvious in the reading. Listen/speaking. Outward work/inward holiness. Action/sitting in silence. Judgment and mercy. While it is tempting to portray James as a listmaker intending to exhaust the devotion of the faithful, his real challenge is to remind the believer that the mystery of Christ’s ownership on the earth has not yet been fully revealed. What Jesus did and claimed for his own is a world and a people uniquely tied to himself. We discover that mystery the longer we stay connected to him.
Until we see him face to face we will not know the complexity of his plan and of his work. So, like patient farmers, we await the revelation.
This morning our fellowship participates in Holy Communion as an exercise of obedience. The exercise presents the mystery of substantial and metaphysical, of heaven and earth, of physical and spiritual. Certainly of personal and communal. We participate in the communion fully aware that God is the one who is delivering the mystery and we are the recipients of the favor.