Consider it all JOY !

Greetings brothers and sisters, and may the Lord give you his peace  !

This mornings reading is from the book of James ( James 1:1 +).    There is a great bit of wisdom to be had in these first verses.    James begins by reminding us that in our daily walk, when we encounter problems, when we are suffering, or in pain, or in our daily trials, we should be joyous !    We should be happy because we are being tested.  When we suffer,  and go through our trials and when we think that God is far away, it is in these times when should feel God is his closest to us.

The questions becomes, what do we do when we are being tested ?     Faith is easy during the times of peace and tranquility.  It is easy to pass the platitudes of rhetoric to others empty and without greater thought or putting up limits and barriers.   It is quite another to get personally involved.   To offer prayers, with the ones who are suffering, with them, and on behalf of them to the Lord.

Faith though, without action, is dead.   My mother used to say ” The Lord helps those who help themselves”.     It is easy to pass the requirement of helping on to another.  It is easy to turn away.    It is easy to look but not to see.   At the same time, it is easy to give up, to exist in our desondancy.  To wail in self pity.   Woe is me.. No, we are asked instead to seek joy in our trials.  We are asked instead to not only find joy in our trials but to seek to find wisdom  in the suffering.  What is it that God is trying to teach me ?  What is it that I should learn from the experience.

In truth most of us do not know during the trial.  It is after the storm has passed, and if we still seek God’s will and wisdom that we can see more clearly what lesson we were to have gotten.

James goes on to say that the lowly should take joy in their high standing, and those in high standing should take joy in their lowliness.  For the rich will fade away with the passing of time.    In this passage James will tell us that the poor can take pride in their high standing.    It really is no less differnt today.    There are those who are amazingly wealthy by todays earthly standards.    People are jealous of their money and property.   But in truth those who love their money and their riches and possessions are empty.   Those are the ones who are truly poor.    They love things, and not their brothers and sisters.

There are those however, who love others first.  They love God, and they love their family and friends.  They have a love of creation that lives and breathes and changes.   They have a love of something that will not pass after they are gone.     The poor who have no money, no riches, no great possessions,  and who love Christ in each other, have truly great riches and are rich in the heavenly kingdom.

Lastly, All of those who are on this earthly plane, and those who have gone before us, who are baptized into the Body of Christ should take joy in our high standing, as we are priest, prophet and king, and heirs to the heavenly kingdom that Jesus shares with us each and every day.

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