Rev. David Baak
The lectionary this week brings us to the words of the epistle of James, possibly even from the brother of Jesus in the first century, with a message that is good for individuals, but is intended first of all to help a community live in faith. James is quite a bit like a New Testament Proverbs: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (1.27); 14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. 18But someone will say, 'You have faith and I have works.' Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith." (2.14-18).