It is good to be back! I had an excellent vacation and not just because I got to work some of it into one or both of the sermons (you’ll have to listen to both of them to see if I’m kidding about the both).
This Sunday the Lectionary has us in the book of James, a problematic book for many people but one to which I find myself drawn more and more as I get older. The problems usually come when you look at what James says in a vacuum. If you go to James for provocative proof texts you will find plenty of them but if you try to apply what they say to the rest of scripture, well you won’t find much support. James doesn’t require a degree in biblical studies to understand but you have to bring an appreciation of nuance and context to it or you’ll miss what is most valuable.
If you think of James as the “faith without deeds is dead so faith doesn’t really matter in salvation” then you have done considerable violence to what is actually going on. The book is concerned with what we do, to be sure, but it works out that concern against a backdrop of faith that takes faith and how it effects us seriously.
Knox Presbyterian What we believe and what we do
St. Mark’s Presbyterian What we believe and what we do
I hope you find value in one or both of these sermons and are both challenged and encouraged by bringing together “what we believe and what we do.”