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Gospel centred sermons, based on the lectionary often in advance.

Aug 28, 2012

Focus reading : James 1:17-27 Subscribe on iTunes

Over the years, between mission book and garage sales, supporting the hospice, toiletries for the youth service, food for LifeLine, the founding and development of Meals on Wheels, and various other gifts, donations, fund raising, and volunteer service, St Stephen's Uniting Church has probably given hundreds of thousands of dollars in money, gifts and service to those who are in need. This much has been given as a church community. As individuals through service clubs, charities, helping needy neighbours, and so on the congregation has done far, far more.

                Today’s reading from James reminds us that this is “true religion” – Caring for those in need (Jas 1:27). He tells us that these are the kind of actions which should spring from the gift of faith. (Jas 1:17-18) In understanding the letter of James we need this as our starting point "17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, ....." . Today's reading reminds us that James is on about the God’s love being a gift. It is because of what God does and is doing that we do stuff. It is because of God's love that we love others.

Questions for thought or discussion.

Martin Luther and many others have struglled with the letter of James because they feel it down plays the notion of God's love being a gift received through faith. What do you think the relationship between good deeds and God's love is?

How might seeing verse 17 as a key to reading James help in understanding this letter? 

How does your faith show itself in action?