James 3: 1-12
My friends, not many of you should become teachers. As you know, we teachers will be judged with greater strictness than others. All of us often make mistakes. But if a person never makes a mistake in what he says, he is perfect and is also able to control his whole being. We put a bit into the mouth of a horse to make it obey us, and we are able to make it go where we want. Or think of a ship: big as it is and driven by such strong winds, it can be steered by a very small rudder, and it goes wherever the pilot wants it to go. So it is with the tongue: small as it is, it can boast about great things.
Just think how large a forest can be set on fire by a tiny flame! And the tongue is like a fire. It is a world of wrong, occupying its place in our bodies and spreading evil through our whole being. It sets on fire the entire course of our existence with the fire that comes to it from hell itself. We humans are able to tame and have tamed all other creatures—wild animals and birds, reptiles and fish. But no one has ever been able to tame the tongue. It is evil and uncontrollable, full of deadly poison. We use it to give thanks to our Lord and Father and also to curse other people, who are created in the likeness of God. Words of thanksgiving and cursing pour out from the same mouth. My friends, this should not happen! No spring of water pours out sweet water and bitter water from the same opening. A fig tree, my friends, cannot bear olives
We are a word driven society. What we say and do has instant impact to those around. Social Media has made this influence even greater. As faithful people, how do we use our gift of communication? James offers some succinct descriptions of the danger and the love we choose to express, and the contradiction often in our words and actions. We communicate through our facial expression and body language. Do we express Wisdom in our words and actions? Proverbs reminds us that Wisdom is there in all that surrounds us. God is present in the market place and throughout all creation. God’s Wisdom Spirit calls to us. Are we listening? Do we take heed? Does the Church demonstrate the faith we extol? James reminds us that our mouths can offer thanksgiving and cursing. Does our preaching, teaching, prayer and spoken word reflect God’s Wisdom and love? How then shall we live?
God of our days,
your Spirit sings to us in so many ways.
As the wind speaks through the trees, and the birds call out their joy,
your Spirit reveals to us life in all its fullness.
Come today, and speak in the midst of your people.
Your Wisdom is our teacher, bringing understanding.
Your Laws guide us in our daily living and being.
Come, Spirit, come!
Wisdom, rest on our hearts and souls as we gather today.
Prayer of Confession
In humility, we open ourselves to you, O God.
You give us intelligence and free will.
You grant us so many modes of expression
to speak about all that comes to us in our daily lives.
And yet, foolishly, we squander these gifts.
Our gift of words is so often used to demean, boast or reprimand.
We have been jealous, prejudiced, obnoxious and pedantic.
Our words have been drenched with our emotions of anger, discontent and envy,
spraying others with violence, unkindness, hurtful meaning, and denigration.
In our pedantry and desire for control, we have formed our words as a mechanism
to order those whom we meet with the way we wish the world to be.
We have dishonoured you and your gifting, and the people we have hurt.
We are sorry, God of all.
We are so very sorry.
God in your mercy, forgive us.
Words of Assurance
Friends, turn to the Forgiving One.
Gracious God welcomes you again and again.
Spirit of gentleness will hold you and keep you.
Learn from the Wise One, and choose to live with Love.
Jesus companions your journey.
Why not spend time in listening and learning to understand more
about the Wisdom of God?
© Rev Anne Hewitt 08/09/2021
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