Proper 17B 2009

In the Letter of St. James, his description of true religion as being "caring for the orphaned and the widow" pretty much exactly parallels what Jesus asks us to do with the Law in the Gospel lesson today – to see it as a moral challenge and not as guiding simple ritual observance. But then James adds the phrase "and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
Is James contradicting Jesus in this short passage, or is something more subtle being asked of us? It turns out that the apparently off-hand comment about the mirror a few verses before is the key to unlocking the sense of what James meant.

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Author: Nicholas Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...