Here is my sermon from this morning. Because so little is known about James, only a scant few mentions in the Bible, listed as one of Jesus’ siblings in Matthew, one of the early witnesses of the Resurrection in I Corinthians, and his role in the Council of Jerusalem. Everything else comes either from tradition or legend. But I feel that first Council was vital to the growth of the early Church, and dealing with the relationship of Christian teaching and Jewish law and customs. I only had a short time in which to get my ideas together with the previous week being my annual personal retreat in which I immersed myself in a significant book dealing with early monastic (principally Benedictine) spirituality by Dom Jean Leclercq, 0SB, of Clairvaux Abbey, Belgium, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God. Then, directly upon my return from Glastonbury Abbey, Hingham, I was greeted with the news of Br. Tom Shaw’s death an hour earlier. So between the SSJE Community working out plans for the funeral (to be Nov. 1) and keeping up with the daily routine of our monastic life, including Yesterday being the monthly Retreat Day, I wasn’t able to be as thorough as I should have been. Looking back at the readings this morning, too late to include anything in the sermon, I saw how James made reference to the Old Testament Prophets Amos and Daniel, who spoke of openness to the Gentiles.
Anyway, here it is.
Today we commemorate James,
“Brother of the Lord.” Some sources say he was the first Bishop of Jerusalem. The event for which he is best known is his role as Presider of the Council of Jerusalem, the first recorded Council of the Church. Our reading from The Acts of the Apostles was about this council. The purpose of this Council was to clarify how many of the customs of Judaism were to be observed by Gentiles becoming believers in Jesus. (Acts 15:1-5)