Sunday, January 26, 2014

Marching around the walls of Jericho

If any of you is in trouble let him pray. If anyone is flourishing let him sing praises to God.

If anyone is ill he should send for the Church elders. They should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Lord’s name. Believing prayer will save the sick man; the Lord will restore him and any sins that he has committed will be forgiven. You should get into the habit of admitting your sins to each other, and praying for each other, so that if sickness comes to you, you may be healed.

Tremendous power is made available through a good man’s earnest prayer. Do you remember Elijah? He was a man like us but he prayed earnestly that it should not rain. In fact, not a drop fell on the land for three and a half years. Then he prayed again, the heavens gave the rain and the earth sprouted with vegetation as usual. James 5:13-18

The thing is about James is his straightforward practicality. And yet, how so often Christians don’t live by what he says.  So often I don’t live by what he says. We are indeed so quick to turn to Him in prayer when problems hit; the corresponding action is praise during the flourishing moments; All good gifts come from Him, the Father of Lights.

A big gift and unifying thread throughout James is that of Christian community. A place to confess sins, to share troubles, to give praise to God, and to pray for one another. And tremendous power is made available here. Certainly I will always remember Cindy’s, “Have you asked the elders to anoint Heather with oil and prayer,” and she was healed. And the Church is where we come to an end of ourselves. The end of I can do it on my own. Well, me and Jesus. It is home instead to mutual submission, mutual humility, mutual equality, mutual mercy, with no judging and tearing each other apart.

And just now there is a sense of expectancy. Aslan is on the move, and together, We the Church are looking expectantly upward to the heavens; let the rain fall down.