James gets at the crux of the matter: what does it mean for you to have faith? Do you have faith that there is one God, or do you have faith in the Good News of Jesus Christ, prepared for us all? How do you show it?
Have you ever treated a wealthier person better than a less wealthy person? Are you sure? Why?
Today’s reading gets into the question of how to seek wisdom from God, and also what it means to be rich or poor in the world we are trying to cocreate with God. It’s always good to remember when reading James that this book seems written from a different perspective from the works Paul wrote. How would an assumption that works show faith be revealed in James?
While we are looking for breaks and enrichment in times of isolation, we’re going to be reading through the book of James together.
James, thought to be the brother of Jesus, wrote this book sometime in the 20-30 years after Christ’s death. It’s not a letter, per se, in that the audience is not clear. Instead, it seems to be a collection of general thoughts and reflections. It is one of the few examples of post-Christian writing in the New Testament that does not originate with Paul. Instead, James seems to be concerned with the ideas of Jewish Christianity. Martin Luther disliked this book because it seemed to emphasize works as well as faith. As we go on, I’d ask you to think about that question, too.