I remember as a child, in Vacation Bible School or Sunday School, singing a hymn whose lyrics were:
Lord, I want to be like Jesus
In my heart, in my heart…
Well, as far as I am concerned, the application of what James tells us in today’s reading is, not to put too fine a point on it, where the rubber meets the road. It’s where we get the chance to—you got it—be like Jesus. In our hearts, yes, and in our actions. “…if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,/You shall love your neighbor as yourself…”.
As if it were that easy. Sometimes our neighbors are cranky. Sometimes they back their cars over our azaleas. If we look at “neighbor” in a broader sense, sometimes they ask us for money on the street, smell funny, look odd, smoke, drive bad cars, act weird, and are just not like us. We are comfortable with the “us;” uncomfortable with the “not-us.”
Ah, me. We are all too human, and it’s a challenge to build ourselves up to being even the smallest bit Christ-like. But we do it. We try. God knows we aren’t perfect. And we try. And it’s difficult. And we shy away, and then try again. Little by little, we take baby steps, and keep trying. We may not immediately see the divinity in the ragged, but we have faith and trust that it is there. And we keep trying. And that, perhaps, is the point.
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