There are a lot of endeavors in which we humans excel. We’ve mapped the human genome. We’ve landed on the moon and we’ve explored the far reaches of space. We also excel at war, poverty, ‘isms’ and division. We over achieve in creating division amongst ourselves even though we see the damage that it causes.
The Apostle James speaks some very straightforward words to anyone who would follow the way of Jesus the Christ. Showing partiality toward people or against people, especially based on things as superficial as economics, is simply not in the vision and framework of God’s Kingdom. James calls disciples of Christ to embrace and be committed to the Law of the Kingdom…that is he calls us to be committed to Jesus’ echoing of the ancient words from Hebrew Scripture: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The spiritual father of the United Methodist Church, John Wesley, lived in a time, much like our own, when English society was ripping itself apart with partiality and divisions based on economics and class. Wesley was committed to leading people of faith toward a spiritually mature and egalitarian society. He led by example as he extended grace to coal miners, addicts and alcoholics, the imprisoned, the ne’er do wells and the poor. He did this in spite of the protests of those who had authority over his ministry.
As 21st Century Christian disciples in Redlands, we will consider what this call and legacy means to us.