Monday, August 27, 2012

Looking Ahead to September 2, 2012 -- Proper 17B, 14th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • James 1
  • Psalm 15 (VU p.736)

The Sermon Title is Someone I Would Like You to Meet...

Early Thoughts: For the 5 Sundays of September we will be exploring the Letter of James. Which works quite well since there are 5 chapters in the book, so we will read a chapter a week.

Retired United Church Minister John Shearman says about this book:
The Letter of James is one of the anomalies of the New Testament. Because it makes few references to Jesus Christ, it was one of the very last to be included in the Christian scriptures. It has more of the flavour of a moral essay attributed to James, the brother of Jesus. Of course, this claim has been disputed almost from the time the church set about the task of defining the NT canon. It may well be a collection of the sayings of James compiled after his martyrdom or a formal letter encouraging its recipients to live in a strictly ethical and deliberately spiritual way at a time of threatened persecution.

 In chapter 1 we see themes emerge that will continue in later chapters (and we will pick up then). But this week we will take time to introduce ourselves to this letter--one of the ones we often do not talk about.

And just for reference, Martin Luther did not think the letter of James belonged in the canon at all. He called it an "epistle of straw". Maybe we will see why he disliked it so much

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