Epistle of Strawolution 1

Posted: November 22, 2018 by Ty in Brunch & Bible, Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , ,

James continues to write and lead the gathering of the Way in unique political-religious times in Jerusalem.  Rome is plotting the retaliation, but this small gathering of followers of Jesus of Nazareth exists within the synagogue system with Zealots; Essene (okay they are a bit more secluded by themselves, but you get my point); Pharisees; Sadducee; and other sects within the Judaic tent.

Yet through things like the opening teachings around testing of belief, show the tension within the early movement, and the established religion (much like with any new movement trying to prove its wings). Think about it. This is a movement of Messiahship that was not what was expected. Jesus of Nazareth had been 1 of hundreds of active “Messiahs” at the time of his crucifixion. Choosing his Way, could very easily be seen as a kind of heresy, and more to the point may create some tensions within family units already struggling under occupation and then the new reality in Jerusalem with Rome held at bay.

Interesting enough though, in chapter one, James calls forth the most ancient of tales from the Hebrew Bible, can you see it within these words:

Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass[c] he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[d] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

-James 1:2-18 (English Standard Version)

What images or story archetypes are emerging with these words?

No it is not from the Torah (Pentateuch); rather it is from the Wisdom writings. Think of the ancient theatre of Job. Seen as God’s most beloved, he becomes the target of a cosmic wager between the angel tasked with testing- Lucifer- and God. It becomes then Job’s friends that try to convince him to walk away.

Why would James write to bring this story to mind for his gathering?

Testing will happen. There will be those seeing the loss of relationship, or work or material goods and try to convince you to walk away, but like Job you need to see deeper. The cool part about calling forth this story to the hearer though, is that it also has a point where Job rages against God, and God responds.

Think of the solace in that? You can feel disconnected from source, yet easily fight back in. Denial works in releasing that which keeps the Holy Spirit locked away inside you. Step into the light.

That is, know that testing happens in life, as it refines beliefs. It is challenges, and relationships that allow us to grow, understand ourselves, each other and our world.For the biggest challenge in life is stepping into the new day, knowing that you do not know or control the outcome…

but that is okay.




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