That quake, which hit just a few days after we returned home from a visit with my Mother, was pretty good-sized, especially when you consider that quakes don’t hit Klamath Falls very often, and so they weren’t all that prepared for it.
So, wisdom is a necessary quality in a builder, and a wise builder will not only know how to build a house, but the builder also will know where to build it, taking into consideration such things as climate, soil, bedrock, and plate tectonics.
Then, when the rain comes, that house won’t fall into the ocean. The first element is the quality of the builder, but the second element has to do with the foundation, and as we think about the foundation upon which we build our own spiritual lives, I’d like to switch the metaphor from floods to earthquakes.
Remember back when this sermon began – no, not my sermon, but Jesus’ sermon?
Remember how Jesus had decided to get away from the crowds that had been coming from as far away as Syria in the north and Judea in the South to hear him speak and maybe be healed?
With this word from James in mind, we hear the word of Jesus who also tells his disciples that if they’re to enter the realm of God, then they must be doers and not just hearers, for that wouldn’t be a wise choice.
And, as for what Jesus wants us to not only hear but do, the path forward is revealed throughout his sermon, which we’ve been pondering these past several weeks.According to James, if we simply hear the Word of God, but don’t act upon it, then we’re like the person who looks in a mirror and then goes off and forgets what they look like.When we’re hearers only and not doers, then we fail to practice a religion that is pure and undefiled before God, a religion that involves not just religious acts, but more importantly involves caring for the orphan and widow in their distress.If we’re living under the reign of God, we’ll leave the job of judging others to God and not profane that which is holy.To live under the reign of God means doing for others, as we would have them do for us.But that means living our lives differently, which is what I think James means when he calls on the church to “keep ourselves unstained from the world.” This is also what it means to pray the Lord’s Prayer and ask that God’s will would be done on earth as in heaven.