Tuesday, October 23, 2007

St. James of Jerusalem

Today is the Feast Day of James of Jerusalem Brother of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Martyr c. 62 A.D.

Would somebody in Nazareth please stand up and be counted for Jesus? The headlines are not reading “hometown boy makes good.” By the time Jesus goes back to his old synagogue in Nazareth, he has gathered about him twelve disciples who call him “Rabbi.” He has preached the Sermon on the Mount, healed the leprous and the blind, raised the dead and given us the Lord’s Prayer.

You would think that he could get a little respect. But no . . . the people acted as if Jesus had gotten uppity – had gotten above his raising. As if a “carpenter’s son” was not good enough to have an opinion about theology. As if Jesus had no business doing “deeds of power” or miracles just because he was of such humble beginnings. And especially that they did not believe he was the Messiah.

Somewhere in that nameless throng of people known as “they” we have a list of names of Jesus’ family. “Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas, and are not all his sisters with us?” Why then did none of them take Jesus’ part? If Jesus was looking for faith and loyalty he did not find any there. As far as we know from scripture, Jesus never made another trek back to Nazareth because of the rejection he experienced. Even his brothers did not believe in Jesus, but after the resurrection that would all change.

In one of Jesus’ best-known post-resurrection appearances, he came to his brother James. He gave his brother a second chance – or maybe it was the third or fourth chance – or tenth. This is a lesson for us to give people another chance. If someone in our family is not seeing eye to eye with us, maybe instead of writing them off, we could give them another chance.

Here is a quote from the writings of Saint Paul:

For I handed on to you as of first importance
what I in turn had received:
that Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the scriptures,
and that he was buried,
and that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures,
and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers
and sisters at one time,
most of whom are still alive, though some have died.
Then he appeared to James . . .

1 Corinthians 15:3-7a

In peace,
The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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