Live Integrated Lives
This week we take a break from the book of John and turn instead to the book of James. James is a letter that was probably written by a scholar in the Jesus movement several generations after Jesus, who named the letter after James, the brother of Jesus. The central idea of the letter is the teaching of Jesus to love our neighbors. The text that we consider for this week from Chapter 2 challenges Christians to live integrated lives, where our faith is demonstrated by our works.
The author of James was part of a marginalized community in the midst of suffering and estrangement from the power structures of the day. Our context is so different in the church today. Because of the difference between the church of today and the early church, it is difficult to hear the message of the text by and for those who are not currently in power in the church. However even though it’s difficult, that is the message of the text. The marginalized are known to be faithful because of their acts of mercy and love.
Their faith, shown through their works, challenges those in power to recognize the grace of God in their lives, and the grace of God through them for the life of the church. It is a call for the followers of Jesus inside and outside the church to seek to live out their faith in every part of their lives. It is a call to live integrated lives where faith and works both testify to the same God, the God of love. It is a call to move beyond laws that hold us back and instead live by the law that frees us for the reign that God, through the Spirit and by the example of Jesus, is unfolding here and now. To prepare, read James 2:14-20.