by R. Wayne Calhoun
Lectionary Text: James 5:7-10 ; Literary Unit: James 5:7-20; Sub Literary Units: vss. 7-11, 12, 13-18, 19 & 20
Central Message: Patience in Suffering
There are three lessons indicated in this passage of scripture which are critical to understanding this short text. The first can be found in v. 7, “to be patient.” God’s epic battle against and eventual victory over the evil forces that provoke human suffering is among Scripture’s principal responses to the problem of suffering. Being patient as compared to farmers who plant their crops and waits for the early and late rains to fall and water the crops. The farmers show wisdom in waiting as we show wisdom when we are patient even when we are suffering.
The second in v. 8 states “the coming of the Lord is at hand.” Our patience also demonstrates that we recognize that our suffering (the world’s suffering) is temporary. We recognize and acknowledge that this exhortation is made more urgent by the pointed assertion that the Lord’s parousia is imminent.
Finally the third lesson found in v. 9, “Do not grumble against one another, brothers.” When we engage in grumbling with our brothers and sisters in the church, we bring judgment on ourselves. Christ will judge and is the only righteous judge. We should avoid judging as if our very lives depended on it. James reminds us to remember the prophets of old as our prime example. Our motivation should be to make wise choices, especially in times of tribulation.
-The New Interpreter’s Bible, One Volume Commentary,
Edited by Beverly Roberts Gaventa and David Petersen, Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN., 2010, pp. 898-899.
Hymns: “Joy to the World,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Silent Night, Holy Night”
An Advent Litany
Leader- A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
Congregation- and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
Leader- the spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
Congregation- the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Leader- His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;
Congregation- but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
Leader- he shall strike the earth with rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Congregation- Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
Leader- The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
Congregation- the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
Leader- The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its
hand on the adder’s den.
Congregation- They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full
of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
(Based on Isaiah 11:1-6, 8-9)