God, audaciously, expects great things from us. Without our response, God is not active in the world. Do our actions resemble the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice (Kingdom of God)
James 1:2-18 2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, 7 for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 8 for the doubter, being double–minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 9 Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, 10 and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away. Trial and Temptation12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. 14 But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; 15 then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved.17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures. [NRSV]
[Scripture quotation: New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved]
[Image: “Creative Commons Albert V Bryan Federal District Courthouse – Alexandria Va – 0014 – 2012-03-10” by Tim Evanson is licensed under CC BY 2.0“
Conversing with James 1:2-18
Dear friends, God audaciously depends on us to bring about the Great Commonwealth* that is “to come.” Such responsibility, however, can try us and find us wanting. Don’t be dismayed. Keep at it. Such endurance produces maturity and wholeness. Sometimes, when insistence insists, we are flummoxed — deeply desiring but not knowing how to respond in a wholesome way. Hang in there with the insistence. Let it continue to invite, nudge, beckon, urge until the calling bears you up as if you are surfing on a wave or borne aloft on the wind. Resist the insistence at your own peril. Those who listen only to the temptations that are driving wealth and status may feather their own nest, but are out of touch with what is meaningful and helpful and wholesome and “Godly.” So you will likely face either trial or temptation. Hang in there with the insistence that insists and you will be walking in the light. Succumb to temptation you will find yourself in a darkness that you may not realize because of the neon signs and flashing strobe lights. All generosity, all giving of self, all care for the least / the last / the lost / the left-out is a sure sign of a haunting specter, bearing the name of God, which insists us into action. Listen, listen, listen! Then do, do, do! Maybe then you will begin to experience the first fruits of the Great Commonwealth*. Perhaps*.?