Song of Solomon 2:8-13 Psalms 45:1-2,7-10 James 1:17-27 Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
A man went on a nature walk. A bear began to chase him, so he climbed up a tree. As he was climbing, he slipped down into the bear’s arms. He prayed, “Lord, I come to thee at the hour of my death. If this be a Christian bear, deliver me from this end.” The bear said, “Lord, thank your for this food,”
Ironically, the bear was indeed Christian, although it didn’t change the outcome of the situation. The important part is that both players in the joke used the rituals ingrained in them for faithful living – prayer at our death and prayer at meal times. These rituals are important. We all use them, but we should always be mindful that when we use them we are pointing to God and God’s nature.
James tells us, “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above.” This theological claim is the most important starting point in thinking about how we care for others. It grounds human responsibility within the divine initiative. God cares for the whole world and creates it anew through the divine Word. God nurtures us, gives us gifts, and provides direction for our lives, often using our human selves to do so. In God there is constancy of care and purpose, and no shadow of turning. God supplies the good things in people’s lives. And from this basic affirmation, James instructs Christians about daily life. He names the things he is most concerned about. For example, James is well