Goingj Deeper 09.02.2021

The Second reading for Pentecost 15... James 2:1-10, 14-17

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you? You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. … What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and 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? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

It has been said that there is level ground at the foot of the cross.  This was spoken with the intended meaning being that no matter the type and size of our sin and how it expresses itself in our lives, all sinners equally receive forgiveness and are equally recreated into children of God.   I would say that this level ground is to extend from the cross outward.

In the family of Christ there are no members who are more important than any others.  Even those charged with leadership are to see themselves as serving as leaders, equal in importance with those who serve.  Actually, Jesus and Paul taught that Jesus followers are to look to others as more important than themselves, even to the point of being foot-washers... which is about as low as you can go.

This type of humility and service is to cross all potential barriers, whether they be racial or political or socio-economic or any other things which cause humans to separate themselves.  Within God's Church we are to show no partiality, nor seek any privilege of position above others.  As a matter of fact, we are to use our blessings in order to be a blessing to others.

Jesus' radical compassion and generosity are to be among the most important characteristics His followers are to emulate, the "works" that follow and flow from faith.  As the song goes, they will know we are Christians by our love...

With You in His Love,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"