Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9 † Psalm 15 † James 1:17-27 †
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
It is probably not new to most of you that the 16th century reformer Martin Luther was not a fan of the book of James. In fact, he wanted to remove it from the New Testament canon. He didn’t think it belonged in the Bible. He didn’t think it should carry the force and authority of scripture.
Now, it may be news to more of you as to why he actually wanted to see it removed. It wasn’t because James was too focused on good works as a standard for true faith or true religion. It wasn’t because he saw it as being untrue to the arc of the Old Testament scriptures, including this text we have from Deuteronomy which is commentary on what it means to attend to the heart of the law—the commandments given to Moses on Sinai that were the heartbeat of Hebrew faith and the center of Jesus’ bible.
It wasn’t because he disagreed with James’ powerful summary that “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God... is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress.”
Readings for this Sunday:
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22 | Psalm 124 | James 5:13-20 | Mark 9:38-50
I hope you’ve had some opportunity to pay attention to the visit of Pope Francis this past week. I have to tell you, I am really drawn to this Pope, and every indication is that many others are as well, and our youth and young adults in particular. Watching some of the events and reading some of the stories this week has me convinced that there’s something afoot, a new sense of possibility, a rekindling of faith of all kinds as a way to get where we need to go, a way of preserving our present and restoring our future.
St. Andrew Sermons