Who wrote James?
In short, we don’t know for sure. The only evidence seems to be from the first verse: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The traditional view is that the author is James, the brother of Jesus. He rose to prominence as one of the more influential leaders of the church in Jerusalem around 44 CE. We also see him makes the decision for the Council of Jerusalem on whether Gentile believers had to follow Jewish law. (Acts 15)
Why did he write this letter and to whom?
James is writing “To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion.” (James 1:1). Unlike many of the other letters in the New Testament that are written to one, specific church, this letter is more generalized: the Dispersion is all areas outside of Palestine. James is writing to a Church that is fighting with itself and wrestling over major issues. Think about the deep pain and emotion that runs throughout major Church (or denominational) arguments. With churches fighting over topics that could rip them apart, James writes, “be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.” (James 1:19-20).
Treat I enjoyed this week…
Yesterday, the welcoming team from University UMC met at Stir Crazy Bakery. I enjoyed my “Fresh Orange” cupcake with candied orange zest on top. It seemed like everyone enjoyed their treats – there wasn’t a crumb left on the table. When you’re welcomed at church this Sunday, ask the welcomer what treat they enjoyed at Stir Crazy!
What I’m looking forward to this weekend…
This Sunday marks the start of our new sermon series: “Love Does.” Between worship services (at 10:30), we will be discussing Project Transformation and praying over the facilities that will be used this summer to share God’s love through the joy of reading!
Quote I’m pondering:
James has a way of cutting out extraneous words and getting right to it. James writes, “If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:26-27). I first re-read that earlier this week and have been turning it over in my head ever since – in what ways do we deceive our hearts? When do we not bridle our tongues? When do we turn away from those in distress or become too concerned with this world? Especially in the midst of an argument.
Stay classy, Fort Worth.