August 9, 2020, James 1:19-27 – Post 2 – ISSL Reflections

Here is a link to the Scripture passage we are spending time with this week –
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=james+1%3A19-27&version=NRSV

V.
The other day I asked you to let a couple of thoughts in the passage lead your thinking as you consider the entire passage. Another way of saying that is to let these thoughts be the lens through which you explore this Scripture.

The two thoughts are –

“… be doers of the word and not merely hearers …” (James 1:22)

and,

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)

VI.
Let’s consider what James says about “pure” religion today.

He tells us that good religion, pure religion, religion that is not “messed up” by anything else, “is this, “to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

As I have been thinking about that and thinking about my growing up going to church, and thinking about what I heard as a young person growing up in the church, it seems it was weighted very heavily toward the part, “… keep oneself unstained by the world.”

Maybe my teachers were very concerned about how bad the world was, and how easy it was for me to make wrong decisions and associate with the wrong people that by stressing this it might help me be a good boy.

Was that just in my church? In my community? In my part of the world?

I really don’t remember as much about the “positive spin” James put on it, “to care for orphans and widows…”

I wonder… no I fear, we have been so concerned with insulating church people of all ages from “the world” that we fail to help one another fully grasp what being “doers of the word” entails.

James thinks it certainly entails being concerned about those in distress. Can we say that he thinks it entails doing something about those in distress?

What do you think?

Charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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