Hebrews 1:1–4 (NRSV)
God Has Spoken by His Son
(Cp Jn 1:1–4)
1 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3 He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
Hebrews 2:5–12 (NRSV)
Exaltation through Abasement
(Cp Ps 8:1–9)
5 Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. 6 But someone has testified somewhere,
“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,
or mortals, that you care for them?
7 You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned them with glory and honor,
8 subjecting all things under their feet.”
Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, 9 but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10 It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 12 saying,
“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”
There are many things that peak my interest. When new technologies come out I am interested in what has improved and what has stayed the same. I will spend time reading about the newest things just because what humans are capable of creating fascinates me. But the emerging technologies can eventually get a bit dry for me. I many get excited about these things when I am upgrading my phone, or when someone I know begins to consider a change. My brother and James could probably quote you the technical specifications of pretty much every device that is currently on the market and about to be released.
The other thing that really excites me is the latest news in genetic studies. I get a weekly newsletter that speaks about the various studies that are being published. Exciting things like the newest emerging vaccines and how they were able to zero in on the one aspect of a virus that would encourage immune response without causing illnesses. To let you know just how interesting this really is medical science is on the verge of finding a vaccine for HIV. The other aspect of genetics that excites me is in the form of agricultural sciences. Many get worried about the presence of genetically modified organisms in our food supply, but without many of these modifications many of the foods we consider staples for our diets would have become so expensive that we would not be able to eat them. Because like a vaccine for humans many of the genetic modifications in crops are modifications that prevent disease, diseases that could potentially cause worldwide famine.
There is one things that I find very fascinating, something that is not the associated with the latest emerging technologies, but instead is related to the ancient past. Ancient cultures, the religions and customs of people from ancient times. I can find myself reading article after article speaking on archeological discoveries. I am fascinated by the various theories people promote about various customs and how they emerged. But one thing that has always had me puzzled is how vastly different the majority of the ancient religions were from the religion promoted by the children of Abraham. I have several possible theories that I like to toy with late at night when I am unable to sleep, but as I consider the letter to the Hebrews something jumped out at me that excites me more than even a potential cure to HIV.
The letter to the Hebrews is one of those letters that we cannot confidently say was written by anyone in particular. Tradition would say that this letter was written by Paul, which many widely accept. But some believe that it could have been written by one of the lesser known apostles. There is something about the author that every scholar recognizes, whoever wrote this letter had a very good grasp of the interworking of the temple. Almost as if they had a firsthand knowledge of the sacrificial systems within the Jewish temple. By first hand I mean that it was likely written by someone that had a priestly background, someone that preformed the rites not just participated in them. Because of this many scholars have looked into the backgrounds of some of the known apostles of Jesus looking for someone that had both a strong grasp of the Greek language as well as a linage that would have placed them in the service of the temple. Of late the likely candidates other than Paul is Barnabas because it is widely believed that Barnabas was a Levite which would have placed him within the hereditary line of priests. This excites me because I have always thought that the most likely alternative to Paul as the author of this letter would have been James.
Why does this matter to us? It may not mean anything to us right at this moment, but Hebrews touches on some very deep aspects of Jewish theology and ancient understandings of how God spoke to the people. The letter begins, “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets.” This is what began the excitement in my spirit. How did God speak in the ancient times? In most theological traditions of Christianity God did not indwell humanity during the periods of history before Jesus. God would send messengers or he would grant dreams or visions that would inspire people to speak, sometimes He would speak directly to them. I want us to focus on the messengers for a moment, because these are the spiritual beings that we see visiting the heroes of faith throughout the pages of the Old Testament. There are a couple of messengers we even know by name, Gabriel and Michael. Both of these spiritual beings are considered Archangels, or angels of the highest degree ones that report directly to God. Michael is considered the commander of the heavenly armies that protect the nation of Israel. Where Gabriel is the one that is the herald that speaks to humanity the proclamations of God. Michael met with Joshua and is the one that protected the body of Moses, Gabriel visited Mary to announce the birth of Jesus through her.
Why does this excite me? Because angels were and are considered powerful beings. They have wisdom and strength beyond that of humanity, they were the ones that in the ancient days before Christ were the direct liaisons between God and humanity. Because these being were wise and powerful beyond that of human understanding it would be tempting to consider these messengers to be gods. Which causes me to wonder could angels have visited other cultures, yet man in their fallen state misinterpreted as deities?
The writer of Hebrews begins by telling those that read this letter, in ancient days God spoke to the prophets in various ways but now He speaks to us through a Son through whom all worlds were created. This is important to consider because prior to Christ the oracles of God were brought by the messengers, they spoke to humanity thought direct visits, or through dreams, they spoke words of wisdom and warning, they protected individuals and the nation. These spiritual beings of wisdom and power were the conduit from which the understanding of God flowed. But now the author says we are connected to something even greater, we are connected to the very being through which all things were created. We are entering into a new age, an age humanity has not yet experienced, an age of Emmanuel.
Let us now move to the second section of scripture, “Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels.” The age of Emmanuel, God with us, is not subject to the angels. These wise and powerful beings have a different role, they are no longer the conduit, and instead Christ the very Son of God has provided the way, the knowledge, and the wisdom of God to mankind. This implies that prior to Christ the angels governed the world and the nations.
Do you see what I see? The prophets speak of a spiritual battle that was waged between the angelic hosts, where one third fell and followed Lucifer, Satan, and the devil. Within this spiritual humanity was caught in the middle which the prophets of old say caused the fall of humankind. If these beings were appointed to govern and guide humanity prior to Christ, they then became the gods of all the fallen and depraved nations. They set themselves up as the objects of worship and lead humanity away from the one true God. But for a while God made himself a little lower than these angelic beings, He made himself human for a specific reason to restore humanity back to where they were to be.
Our created purpose was to be the stewards of creation, to manipulate what God has provided to bring praise to Him. But when those spiritual beings appointed to guide our paths rejected God they brought confusion into all of creation. Sin entered the world. Instead of using creation to bring praise to God we began to exploit creation to obtain our own agendas. The results bring death, pain, and sorrow. But Christ came to restore and redeem humanity and all of creation. He came to show us true life, and how to participate in that life. He came becoming the perfect human to provide us with the means and strength to overcome all the whiles of the fallen angels. Because He himself over came the only power the angelic beings lorded over us. They took life and brought in death, and Jesus removes the sting of death and transforms it into glory!
Where is this new age of which I speak? Why then do we not live in a world completely redeemed and restored? Why do we still struggle? That ancient battle still wages on between the spiritual forces, but they are being defeated. The gods of ancient Rome and Greece are no longer worshiped in temples but remain only in art and literature. The deities of Canaan and Babylon are only a dusty page of history. Those angelic beings that set themselves up as lords are now on the run and have cleverly hidden themselves within so many of the things we pursue, even things we perceive as honorable. They still have influence because they have influenced us for ages. We as humans must repent, turn from the things of this world and pursue God in Christ. We must actively pursue His life and lifestyle. Become a people that worship, pray, and serve. Become a nation that loves God, Embraces the Holy Spirt and Lives the Love of Christ with others. We must realign our lives to follow the pioneer of our faith, the hero that broke the chains that bound us in sin, and walk in the light of his Glory and Grace.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
Friendship with the World
4 Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2 You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,
“God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
The problem with biblical interpretation and understanding what scripture is saying is that often we do not understand the historical perspective. I say this because these words were written nearly 2000 years ago, and a few things have changed since then. To be a student of scripture we also need to be a student of history. This is even more important when we read the letters that the various apostle have written, because often the letters are referring to historical issues. If we do not read the scriptures though a historical context we can find ourselves misunderstanding what is written.
This historical context if often what causes the controversy surrounding the letter James wrote to the church. As we have contemplated the writings of James over the past few weeks I have highlighted some of the points that often are seen as being contradictory to writings of Paul, because of this James’ letter is not very popular among most in the western church, especially among the protestant variety. I also pointed out that James unlike Paul was primarily writing his letter to people of a more eastern mindset than that of Paul. The eastern cultures placed a higher value on the community over the individual, this community focus is seen in the writings of Paul but he was primarily writing to people who approached spirituality from an individualistic philosophy. The historical context is important because the church emerged from an oriental culture. Oriental because the Hebrew culture from which the first century Jewish community emerged from was remnant that returned to Israel from exile in Persia, and the Persian Empire was an empire that stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to India.
The next historical issue we must consider is that Israel or Palestine as the Romans referred to the area, was an area that was disputed, It was at the cross roads of empires, Though Persia was pushed back by the Greeks centuries prior, as the Greek influence waned after the death of Alexander the Great, the Persian influence pushed back to the west. The Magi that we celebrate around Christmas were most likely priest from the Zoroastrian religion which was the dominate faith of Persia. Since Israel was a disputed borderland between the empires war was constantly on their minds. War within and war from without. The Gospels constantly point this out if we look at the historical context. The very fact that Magi from the east came to celebrate the birth of a king, which caused Herod to send troops to Bethlehem to slaughter the innocents shows us this, sure it was that he wanted to protect his kingdom, but his kingdom was under the lordship of Rome and if there was a king under the lordship of Persia living within the borders of Israel it would cause Rome to take a more aggressive stance.
A third historical perspective we must consider is the Jewish nationalism. They desired to be independent from their overlords, they wanted to live again under the theocracy of the priestly kingship of David. This was the source of much of their religious fervor, this nationalistic ideology dominated their spirituality to the point that it overshadowed the true message of the covenant religion that was established by Moses. Their politics controlled their theology, and their theology was based on their politics, leaving little room for the ideas that Jesus presented, and even less for what the apostles continued to preach after the ascension of Christ. This nationalistic theology of the first century Jewish people was not something that the empires of the world enjoyed, it was a threat to the power of the Emperors to the east and the west. And since Rome held control of the land it was a direct threat to them.
When James speaks of wisdom, he is speaking of religious zealotry. He is challenging the political based theology of the religious leaders that were popular around Jerusalem. He challenged them just as Jesus challenged them. As Jesus taught on the hillsides of Judea he would call out the teachings of the Pharisees, saying that they load the people down with laws that they do not hold themselves accountable to. These laws that they were trying to enforce would be laws that most religious leaders would support, because they were dedicated to making the nation a more righteous place. The problem with this sort of legislation is that if the law is not written on the hearts of the people it is an empty law one that does not produce spiritual health but only an illusion of piety.
James challenges these leaders, these leaders were inside and outside of the church. They had this idea that they were going to legislate a righteous nation, but the problem with this is that the people were not righteous. There were conflicting ideas of what was right and what was not causing great instability among the people which lead to the Jewish revolts that eventually lead to the total destruction of Jerusalem. With the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple of God being leveled just as Jesus predicted, all the work of the religious leaders that were working so hard to make a righteous nation was abruptly stopped. Who is wise?
James did not see the day that Jerusalem fell because the religious leaders that he challenged plotted for his destruction as they did Jesus’. This historical fact just highlights the very things that James taught. The religious leaders were not focused on the heart of their faith but were focused on something else entirely. They were focused on wealth, power, and influence over others. James wrote this letter before is demise saying to them, “who is wise among you?”
The wisdom of which James challenges us to seek is the wisdom of God. To be more specific it is the Spirit of God, or Holy Wisdom. The wise that James challenges us to bring forth are those people that live directed by the Spirit of God in all that they do. And James says that those that live by this wisdom will be revealed to us by their actions, just as the wisdom of the world is revealed.
James says, “If you have bitter envy or selfish ambition in your hearts…this is not wisdom from above but is earthly, unspiritual, and devilish.” I want us to stop right there for a bit, and remember who he is challenging. This bitter envy that he speaks if much deeper than we think. We can quickly move over this word and not really understand fully what he is talking about. The word that he uses is zeal. This is most often in reference to religious zeal, and this is why James makes so many well-meaning religious leaders mad. Bitter zeal…Selfish ambition…he is speaking about the intent of our religious activity, or more accurately the focus. Bitter zeal is imposing legalities upon others to manipulate control, and selfish ambition is to engage in religious activities for selfish gain. What can God do for me! This type of wisdom is not directed from God because the focus is on ourselves and our desires for control over others. God does not work that way.
James says, “the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.” Jesus taught that He is the living water, and those that drink of from him will never thirst again. This is the same idea that James is teaching wisdom from above is first pure like a spring of water bubbling up from the depths of the earth. Fresh, pure, cool and refreshing living water. This concept of living water is one that speaks of grace and blessing. Living water or flowing water a good sign of pure water in ancient times. As long as the water is moving the impurities are washed away. This is why John the Baptist, baptized in the Jordan, because the living water, the flowing water was carrying away your sins washing you and carrying your sins downstream. When the water stops flowing and becomes stagnant problems arise. Moss begins to grow and a stench is released into the air, when we damn the grace of God the same happens to our lives. The water is no longer sweet but bitter, no longer refreshing but putrid.
When we live our lives based on the wisdom of the world instead of seeking the wisdom of God, we damn up the flow of grace. We become bitter and our religious zeal leave those we meet seeking for something else. When we allow the wisdom of the Spirit of God to flow through us something else happens. Our attention is turned away from ourselves and it begins to flow downstream. And as the grace again flows it saturates into the dryness around us filling it with the living water of Christ, and when that is saturated fully it continues to flow.
The letter James wrote so long ago can teach us so much today. We live in a time where there is so much bitterness and selfish ambition all around that it is hard to discern what is right. We look out at the world around us and we have a perception that all is lost, but it is not. People are thirsting for the grace that Jesus has to offer, they yearn for it. But the waters are often tainted so they turn away. James urges us to go back to the very core of the gospel, the kingdom of God is here. It is all around us, just ready to spring forth. But are we letting it flow? This is why Jesus came to live among mankind. To provide the way for redemption and reconciliation, and to show us how to keep the grace flowing. Jesus showed us how to live a life directed by holy wisdom by making it his custom to worship, withdrawing often to pray in the isolated places, and then ministering to the needs of those around him in the community. Worship, prayer and ministry is the prescription to heal the brokenness in our world. Loving God, embracing the Holy Spirit and living the Love of Christ with other is the only way to allow the grace to flow again and to remove the bitterness so many see in religion. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
As we draw near to God in this time of open worship, let us consider with the assistance of God where our focus truly is. Are we a people that believe that the grace of God can overcome the world or are we being led by bitter zeal? Let us all cleanse our hands and purify our hearts so that the grace of God will flow from us and saturate the world around us.
James 1:17–27 (NRSV)
17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
Hearing and Doing the Word
19 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.
26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 27 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.
There are many thing going on in the world around us. Things that make us question the very fabric of our being. Many of us feel as if everything we have ever stood for is being ripped out from under us and we stand alone, we stand with no support, and no direction. We feel as if we must grasp ahold of what every is left of the life se have known and hold on tightly, we grasp because we are afraid. Why do we fear? Why are we afraid of our future? Why do we look at the world around us and not see the hand of God but only chaos?
Perspective. A few weeks ago I mentioned that perspective is a very important. The ability to look at things from a different point of view can bring a different understanding and maybe even deepen our faith. The past month of so I presented a different perspective on the interpretation of the letter to the Ephesians that many of us had not considered before. I did this because it is necessary at times to be challenged so that we can grow, some might consider that perspective a novelty or an action to raise the eyebrows. That is not the intention. It was necessary to show this perspective so that we might see more, understand more, and be able to take steps of faith beyond where we have been. Last week I wanted us to consider the emotions of a church divided and the base emotional reaction that we have when we think, perceive, or assume actions of other. What base reaction occurs? We prepare for a fight, we begin to choose sides and garner support against the perceived enemy, and we misunderstand or are blinded to the reality of what God is doing all around us.
This week we begin to look at the letter of James. Although scholars debate who wrote this letter, because I guess scholars just like to debate, the general consensus is that this letter was written by James the brother of Jesus. I want us to consider this just for a brief amount of time because James was not always the largest supporter of the activities of Jesus. In many cases he opposed the ministry of Jesus and deemed His actions as a threat to the family. James had a perspective about things, he had an assumption as to what reality was, and his conclusion was to oppose his brother. But something happened to this once hostel sibling, his perspective was changed. At one time James was known as James the judge, but we now know him as James the just. He was once geared up to battle his own brother but that changed and he became a servant of the very one he once opposed. Everything changed when he encountered the reality of what God was doing around him. He encountered the living Christ.
James experienced something that he could not really explain, he experienced something that caused him to reconsider everything he once knew, and because of this he started down a different path. James was always a devout individual, even when scripture depicts him in the worst light his devotion to God was never questioned. Yet after James saw the broken body of Jesus that was buried in a tomb restored to life, the course of his life was altered. He became an outspoken supporter of the ministry of the apostles to the point that he became the leader of what we now call the church of Jerusalem.
He speaks of generosity as being a perfect gift from God, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. I want us to consider this for a moment because many people will argue that there is a distinct difference between God revealed in the Old Testament and the New, yet James is saying that there is no variation or change. Remember this is a devout man of faith that at one time opposed his very own brother believing that Jesus was expressing something contrary to the truth, and he is now speaking in support. There is no variation or change in the Father of Light, God has not changed but what humanity sees does. Perspective is important, not because it changes God, but because it might allow us to see God more fully.
James then encourages the readers and listeners of this letter to understand something very important. “[Let] everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.” Let us allow that to just percolate in our hearts and minds for a moment. Let everyone be quick to listen. The first thing about this statement is that to be quick to listen there is a requirement for another personality to be present, a person that is speaking. James is encouraging us to place a high value on relationships. That a true servant of God listens. To listen to the stories of another we affirm that of Christ in them, we are telling them that they are worthy of our attention and are valued as a human being.
The desire to be heard is powerful. It is a base desire of all humanity, it is one that is deeply rooted in our very genes, we are a species that thrives in community. Science is proving that our brains can not function to their highest potential unless there are other brains around us to communicate with. When people feel as if they are not being heard it devastates the individual and the community as a whole because it devalues their and our humanity. Those that are unheard are pushed off to the fringe of society, and when this continues it breeds anger and revolt. The media right now is filled with the protests of a segment of our population that feels that they have not been heard, that is the root of the Black lives matter campaign.
This idea of listening, of building a relationship with those around us goes beyond humanity. It also applies to listening to God, and recognizing His place in the community. The most recognizable aspect of our Friends tradition of faith is our practice of listening worship. From the very origin of our movement leaders and worshipers would meet together to simply listen in silence. James and our spiritual ancestors of the Friends tradition recognized the importance of allowing space to listen to God by observing the lifestyle that Jesus lived. He made it His custom to worship, and he would withdraw often to pray in isolated places, and then he would minister to the community. Listening is not a passive task but the most important aspect of a relationship with humanity and with the divine.
“Slow to speak,” is the second part of James’ advices to the followers of Jesus. When we look more deeply into the usage of the words that James penned this has deep meaning. On the surface we might say that we should allow some time to pass between listening and responding vocally, but that is not the full depth of what James is saying. To be slow to speak is to mind what we say and not mock, judge, speak falsely, or accuse. So when we speak we should make every effort to encourage a deepening relationship, our words should be considerate and uplifting, building up the community with love and grace which flows from the father of light.
Next is slow to anger. This anger is not the initial emotional response of being upset but refers to wrath or inciting deeds of anger. To be slow to anger means we should actively seek the opposite of wrath which is forgiveness and reconciliation if a relationship is strained.
So when James says, “Let us be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger,” he is encouraging us to build relationships between humanity and God, encourage a deepening and more meaningful conversation that is focused on grace, forgiveness and reconciliation instead of condemnation. And if we are willing to listen and strive to encourage and reconcile relationships we should be moved to participate in that relationship through action.
James says be doers not just hearers. Again this is a reflection of the life of Jesus, he would move out of the isolated places of prayer and would enter into the community ministering to all of those in need. He would heal the sick of diverse illnesses, and he would listen to the words spoken to him. He would not just stand and preach but often he would allow the conversation to flow. Consider the woman at the well, he asked her for a drink of water, which immediately entered into a political debate over the validity of the heritage and faith of the people of Samaria. Jesus did not condemn the woman but was slow of speech, moving the conversation away from who is right to something deeper as he explained that a time will come that true worship will not be done on the mountain or in the temple. He then moved the conversation to grace.
James is telling us that God has not changed but our perception has, it has become cloudy and we need to step out of the clouds to see the truth. He is saying that we can be completely right and completely wrong at the same time if we are not actively participating in honoring and restoring the humanity of our community to a right relationship with God. James was a devout man of faith yet he realized that all his religious devotion was not helping anyone. Jesus does not call us to participate in ritual but in live. He is calling us to reflect the light of the Father to the world that is trapped in darkness. And to reflect that light we must listen to those around us, we must speak words of encouragement and restore their relationships with the community. This is true worship, the true religion. It is not about what we are getting out of the church services, or sermons, but listening to the voice of God and the voices of those around us. It is about being moved into action and living the love of Christ with others.
As we enter this most sacred time of our meeting for worship, the time where we listen to the voice of God, I pray that we will be quick to listen, and respond accordingly to what he has to say. Let us also consider how well we follow the advice of Jesus’ brother and be willing to help those that could use the encouraging word or deed.