Where do you most readily see God? I mean…obviously, we’re told that no one really SEES God…but where do you experience the knowledge of his presence most? When do you most actively seek to acknowledge him in your life? During the good times, or when times are hard? In church, or at the beach….where?
James encourages us to seek God in every circumstance as we come to our next to the last teaching in James. We’ll be reading James 5:13-18 this Sunday.
Whit shared masterfully last week about gaining a proper attitude of patience during difficult times, and James reiterates the need to pray when times are hard. But then he goes to the other side encouraging us to praise when we’re stoked about life. What are some of the things that happen in life that just make you want to whoop it up, or sing a tune? According to James, that’s the stuff we want to praise and thank God for.
Then we’re told to call the church around us if we’re sick…and we get these odd instructions about rubbing people with oil and God saving and raising up the sick. It clearly is something that has had something lost to us in the transmission from that culture to our own. There are a multitude of differing opinions on what James was saying here – we’ll cover a few of them on Sunday. How does what James instructs here jibe with your experiences? – No matter how we read this part, one thing is for sure, when we’re physically sick and weary, we can look to God for his help in whatever form it takes. That’s a pretty comforting promise I would say.
Confessing our faults to each other – there’s another strange picture. That is, until we contrast it with the practice of putting on an image of having everything together – of being morally superior to our neighbor. Maybe James was trying to remind us of the common ground of grace we all stand on. When you are acutely aware of your own need for forgiveness, how likely are you to condemn someone else? Maybe that’s the connection between confessing and healing…a community of people who all know they need to be forgiven sounds like a healing community to me. What do you think?
It should be an interesting study – hope to see you Sunday!