Feast of Saint James, Apostle
Making connections is something that come easy to many people. Yet as Church attendance declines for many faiths it seems concerning that people are not making the connection between worship and their daily journey of faith. The readings today challenge us to fully understand that our very being is connected to Christ and the one by whomever he was sent. This connection is so intertwined with Jesus that his death and resurrection are at work in our lives.
Our lives and our sufferings are to be given up, offered up for the sake of Jesus. This dying to self allows the life of Jesus to be manifested within our mortal bodies. It means we are so connected with Jesus that we too will be raised with Jesus to be in the presence of the Lord. Paul reminds us that this may come with some struggle, but that these deaths will not end in destruction. Instead he encourages us that these sufferings will lead to life in Jesus
Theologically it is comforting to know that our sufferings are not without purpose. Yet, Convincing one's mind and heart of the benefits of suffering is difficult in the midst experiencing them. Indeed everything we experience is for the glory of the Lord.
Practically then experiencing the Lord's grace and mercy means we will drink from the same cup of suffering from which Jesus drank. Then like Christ we must give our lives for the ransom of others. Today's gospel gives us another reminder of our connection with Jesus. We too must be servants. Yet we live a culture that seeks to constantly serve us, and we grow to expect the service, sometimes impatiently. In doing so we might ask the Lord for things or wishes that are not his to grant? Consider the desires of your heart, do they bring you close to Lord? Are your desires for you alone or for others?
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint James, an apostle, whose connection with the Lord led him to give his whole life in service to Christ. Lord help us though the intercession of St. James give our all to be faithful servants like your Son, who lives and reigns one God forever and ever. Amen!
- Deacon Michael Montgomery