Never pull each other to pieces, my brothers. If you do you are judging your brother and setting yourself up in the place of God’s Law; you have become in fact a critic of the Law. Yet if you start to criticise the Law instead of obeying it you are setting yourself up as judge, and there is only one judge, the one who gave the Law, to whom belongs absolute power of life and death. How can you then be so silly as to imagine that you are your neighbour’s judge? James 4: 11-12
This Scripture is not saying “Just mind your own business, keep your nose clean and don’t worry about anyone else.” Rather our role in The Life of the Community is to encourage one another to love and good deeds. Without shredding.
I feel the weight of this every day in the classroom–not to get distracted by the huge bombastic (often political–I am open game now that I have confessed to bing a registered Independent) statements made my know-it-all kiddos, but rather to leave the Spirit to shine light on what is True And Of Value.
Right now, sometimes it is the case of maybe-I-should-have-saids, when what I actually said was, “Make sure you have copied this agreed-upon definition of ‘stewardship.’” Leaning into Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. As I learn to step into Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.
And what can I do but once again ask for wisdom, the wisdom that comes from God is first utterly pure, then peace-loving, gentle, approachable, full of tolerant thoughts and kindly actions, with no breath of favouritism or hint of hypocrisy. And the wise are peace-makers who go on quietly sowing for a harvest of righteousness—in other people and in themselves.
A long obedience in the same direction. A pilgrimage. One of my students (from a long time ago) posted on Facebook this morning that she is walking El Camino de Santiago this summer and was wondering what sort of shoes she should wear…and the advise was all the same: Good sturdy, well-broken-in boots: A real down-hill-loose-rock-muddy-knee-and-ankle buster adventure. Bring trekking poles. And a good knife to cut the mud off of the boots in front of the Alberque.
And yesterday Matteo posted a video of his summer pilgrimage, and it was hot and long and it really helped when passers-by squirted refreshing water on the weary travelers. But it was also a journey of joy, of laughter and song and companionship under the overarching beauty of God’s love.
Good images as I head out into the day. To whatever He has for me. Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.