Pentecost 7 / Proper 11
Genesis 28:10-19a; Psalm 139:1-11, 22-23; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Jeremiah 45:1-5; Psalm 7:1-10; Acts 11:27-12:3; Matthew 20:20-28
St. James’ Day
Today we celebrate Saint James’ Day. I hope you will be able to join us for our potluck lunch after this service.
So what do you know about James the Apostle?
· Son of Zebedee, a prosperous Galilean fisherman
· Brother of John
· With his brother John left his home and his trade in obedience to the call of Christ.
· With Peter and John, he seems to have belonged to an especially privileged group, whom Jesus chose to be witnesses of the Transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’ daughter, and the agony in the garden of Gethsemane.
· Disciple of Jesus and an apostle
· Saint James the Greater: James, the brother of John, is often known as James the Greater, to distinguish him from the other Apostle of the same name, commemorated in the calendar with Philip, and also from James “the brother of our Lord.”
· Nicknamed “Boanerges” – Sons of Thunder – zeal, hot-headed disposition
· His mother sought positions of privilege for her sons James and John at the right and left hands of Jesus in his kingdom. These were reserved for the two criminals crucified with Jesus. No indication that they were embarrassed by their mother’s request.
· James expressed willingness to live as Jesus and suffer his fate. James’ expressed willingness to share the cup of Christ was realized in his being the first of the Apostles to die for him. As the Acts of the Apostles records, “About that time Herod the King laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword. (Acts 12:1-2)
· James zeal for evangelizing / proclaiming the gospel took him to parts of Spain before his return to Judea and martyrdom
· According to an old tradition, the body of James was taken to Compostela, Spain, which has been a shrine for pilgrims for centuries. Among the Spaniards, James is one of the most popular saints. In the Middle Ages, under the title of Santiago de Compostela, his aid was especially invoked in battle against the Moors.
· Pilgrim hat, staff, scalloped shells
Can you find symbols of St. James in our sanctuary?
· stained glass window over altar
What do you think St. James would think of Albion and our church today?
What do you think St. James would be like today?
What can we learn from St. James?
James was boisterous and zealous, eager to accomplish his goal. He must have been a formidable evangelist and preacher, although we hear nothing of this. He probably attracted a lot of attention and this is probably why he was the first apostle killed, although his brother John lived to be an old man. What would it look like to be a zealous evangelist? What would it sound like? In the first century? In the 21st century?
God is love. God loves you. God loves me. God loves your family. God loves your friends. God loves your enemies. God loves your neighbors. God loves Mayor Garrett Brown. God loves President Donald Trump. God loves Kim Jong-un. God loves all of his creation, even those pesky mosquitoes. In fact God loves God’s creation so much that he gave his only son Jesus Christ so that whoever believed in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Kevin, God loves YOU, so live like you believe it.
Phyllis, God loves YOU, so know that you are lovable.
Dick, God loves Mary, so love Mary like she is a beloved child of God.
Virginia, God loves you, so do not be afraid.
Glen you are created in the image of God so love like God.
Diana, God loves your neighbor, so love your neighbor as if she is Jesus Christ himself.
Dick, God loves the people of Albion, so may God bless you for loving the people of Albion and Sheridan Township and your work in the Albion Community Garden and your work as superintendent of Sheridan Township. May you believe that you are doing God’s work.
David, God loves you, Lia, Charles and your Albion College Music Students. May you find peace and contentment in the love you show them.
Like the parable of the sower and the parable of the wheat and the weeds, sow love near and far, sow love everywhere. Yes there is evil in the world. Yes there are good people and bad people, but that is for God to decide. God loves you and all creation. We are not called to judge and weed out the bad. We are called to believe that God loves us and our neighbors and that Jesus Christ came to save us and those we love and those we do not like and those we do not know.
Saint James sets the bar high, but he is our patron saint who provides an example of how to live as a Christian. So love boldly so that they may know that we are Christians by our love. Scatter the seeds of God’s love recklessly not caring where they fall for you do not know where they will find a pocket of fertile soil. Love deeply, love like your life depends upon it for it does. Live as if you believe you are a beloved child of God. Live like your neighbor is a beloved child of God. Live like the stranger is a beloved child of God for God does love them. God loves your family. God loves your friends. God loves your neighbors. God loves the stranger. God loves you! Amen.