But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. – James 3:17-18
I don’t know about you, but this scripture passage – from the book of James – is one of those slices of truth that is immediately arresting.
By “arresting” I mean something that stopped me dead in my tracks, put a hand on my shoulder, took me firmly by the arm, and said in no uncertain terms, “You’re coming with me, son.”
This early twenty-first century is an age desperately in want of wisdom. Fortunately, we can get a helpful set of clues via this definition from James, bullet-pointed for us right there in the scriptures. It is not that complicated, and it is no well-guarded secret. According to James, wisdom is:
- full of mercy and good fruit,
- impartial and sincere.
- Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
So what are the implications?
Are we humbly on the lookout for wisdom? Are we committed – by honest inquiry – to uncovering and living by truth? Do we believe that our walk with Jesus is supposed to lead us somewhere rather than tying the Lord to our own predetermined conclusions? Are we openhearted, openminded, open-spirited disciples? Are we are followers of The Way?
If we are then we will often find ourselves arrested by scripture, as I was by this morning’s passage. Arrested: it’s a great word. Something that arrests us is absorbing, consuming, engaging, engrossing, enthralling, fascinating, gripping, immersing, interesting, intriguing, involving, riveting.
This is what I want us to do this morning, to invite the Holy Spirit to arrest us so that God’s good word absorbs us, grips us, rivets us, and engages us. I want the undeniable presence of God to stop us dead in our tracks, put a hand on my/your shoulder, take us firmly by the arm, and say in no uncertain terms, “You are coming with me.”
PRAYER: “Come, great Lord of Creation, challenge us with the truth about who we must be if we claim to follow you, and lead us into sowing the kind of peace that yields a harvest of righteousness. Teach us to be pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. We ask this in humility, because we have so much to learn. Amen.”