Illuminate all ministers of the Gospel with true knowledge, and understanding of thy word; and that both by their preaching and living they may set it forth, and show it accordingly. - Great Litany
The Epistle of James. The Letter of James. James might be the most contentious book in our canon—our Bible. James arrived late on the scene of compilation. Written sometime in the 1st or 2nd centuries, while Christianity was still in its infancy, James wasn't really accepted as scripture until the late 3rd century. The author is wildly unknown. Theories abound, but none can quite hold water. The author simply identifies themselves as a a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther famously referred the Letter of James as “the epistle of straw” because he felt there was nothing of gospel importance in it. The letter is admittedly short on Jesus—he doesn't receive a starring role; especially in comparison to other letters in the New Testament. But James is rich with the practical and tangible.
The letter of James, unlike most of the letters in the Bible, was not written to a specific community to tackle a specific problem. It was written to what the author called "the twelve tribes in Diaspora," or, as some have interpreted that phrase, the entire Christian church as it began to spread out over the world.
The letter’s audience scholars believe were people entirely aware of Jesus and the Jesus story. The letter was written, not to bring people to faith, rather it was written to advise its readers on how to live out the faith they already had.
Thirteenth Sunday after Whitsunday
Joshua is approaching the end of his life. He was grayer, slower, frail. He had a long and storied career as leader of God’s people. Joshua grew up a slave in Egypt—living in oppression and bondage. He was inspired as a young man by a man named Moses who gave Gods people hope for a life free from slavery. Following the exodus from Egypt, Joshua was charged by Moses to lead a militia in the first battle against their enemies—a big deal for a people who hadn't had an army for generations. He was by Moses’ side as he ascended Mount Sinai to commune with God and receive the first set of the Ten Commandments.
And he was present when they descended from the mountain to see the Israelites dancing around the Golden Calf. And when Moses approached death, God appointed Joshua to succeed Moses as leader of the Israelites. Joshua had reached the age, tradition says of 110, and was entering his final days.
After decades of hardships and war, the people of God had finally conquered the Promised Land and secured it for themselves. Joshua’s final act was to divide the land around the twelve tribes of Israel. Joshua gathers the heads of the tribes, the judges of the people, the officers and priests. He gathers the people of God in preparation for this historic event.
I love bread. My mouth waters for wheat germ and whole grain, for rye and roti. My stomach grumbles for sourdough and soda, teacakes and Texas toast. And even when scientists and doctors tell me too much bread might be a bad thing…I can’t resist. I love bread.
Bread is an energy producing carbohydrate. Bread is a great source of B vitamins, iron and fiber.
Bread is one of the worlds oldest staple foods. Evidence from 30,000 years ago in Europe revealed starch residue on rocks used for pounding plants and grains. Nearly every culture from around the globe has developed bread to fit their needs and uses. From grain cakes in antiquity to the wonder bread of the twentieth century, bread has remained an essential ingredient in most diets.
Bread is sustaining, energy producing, vital, and common.