This Sunday is number four of five on the little book of James. Next Sunday we have a guest preacher whilst I climb Ben Nevis (well, technically, whilst I travel go home from climbing Ben Nevis) so this is my last input. I have found the series very challenging because James calls a spade a spade (or a shovel, whichever version of the saying you prefer), his letter needs little or no interpretation and it is utterly practical. This afternoon I will be tidying my sermon, but here, in my words, is what I think James has been talking to me about these last few weeks...
Faith that is not active in everyday life is futile.
An attitude of gratitude - the big-hearted God generously supplies all our needs, therefore gratitude should be our prime motivator
The generosity that results from gratitude should be impartial, not favouring any one 'people group' over any other
We are responsible for the words we choose, and use; when (not if) we foul up, we need to forgive and be forgiven
We should practice gentle wisdom, which is totally counter-cultural, seeking neither personal advantage or reward
Diligence in prayer, sticking at it, and recognising its divers purposes (praise, confession, intercession) as we endeavour to practice what we preach.
A few years back, over at Living Wittily, Jim Gordon collated a series of haiku summaries of books of the New Testament. I have a sneaking suspicion I did James, but I cannot find, even with Google, the relevant post (Jim......). They are worth checking out, if you can find them, and if not the challenge of summarising the message of a book in a few words is a good one.
James 2:26a - faith without deeds is dead. QED.