This letter comes to you from a wise and respected teacher.
He is not god, and does not wish to be treated as god.
But he has known God, and wants you to know God too.
James draws a line down the chalk board.
On one side is “the world.” On the other side is God.
In his letter, “the world” means what creation has become in contrast to what God means creation to be. These days we’re used to calling all of the earth, the life and human creations it supports, “the world.”
So to avoid confusion, let’s call James’ “world,” the un-world.
The bible opens windows to the real world, God’s world.
These windows are framed by the times, places, and experiences
of the people who describe them for us.
We can’t see through the window without the frame that holds it.
The un-world draws us into a false horizon with promises that can’t always and ultimately be kept, like comfort, wealth, being the best, beating death. It’s a well painted scene, often beautifully framed, sometimes a distraction from life’s ugliest frames. While the un-world holds out power, beauty, fame, security, James unmasks the un-world as cultivating envy, duplicity, greed, self righteousness.
All the while God continues to offer the real world,
creation, compassion, justice, truth, strength, wonder.
The un-world wants you to live a special life.
God asks you to live a sacred life.
Which James asks, do you really want to stake your life on?
Understanding that it is your choice is the beginning of wisdom.
When we sit by scripture's window it reorients us to the world God is creating,
under over, around and through the un-world that we’re trained to see.
Plan to set aside some time today to read James 1: 1-16.
Notice what’s on each side of the teacher’s chalk line.
After you run your eyes over the passage,
read it again slowly and stop where it starts to tug at your attention.
What is God asking you to notice?
What is God asking you to do?
What do you need to ask God?