Scripture: James 1:16-27
Key verse: (17) Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Reflection: “The year 2017 marks 500 years since a stubborn monk and towering thinker, Martin Luther, published his 95 theses or complaints against the Catholic Church and launched the Protestant Reformation, a momentous religious revolution whose consequences we still live with today.”  Later Luther proposed changes to the “canon,” the list of books included in the Bible. Luther referred to the Letter of James as an “epistle of straw” and attempted to remove it from scripture because the authorship was questionable, the letter says little about Jesus Christ, and the focus of the letter is on human behavior.
Fortunately, Luther didn’t prevail and the Letter of James remains in our Bibles! Our lives are lived in response to God’s love revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Much of the New Testament focuses on that love as we see it in Christ but James focuses on our response.
Every act of giving and every perfect gift comes from God. God loves us first and we respond by living out our faith. In Jesus Christ we see God’s generous and sacrificial love. We respond by giving generously and sacrificially for God’s work in the world.
As our church mission statement reminds us:
Claimed by the love of God in Jesus Christ,
we are called into this community of faith
living out our love for God
in worship, study, and service,
loving and supporting one another
as we join God’s transforming work
in our city and in the world.
Prayer: “Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father; there is no shadow of turning with thee. Though changest not; thy compassions they fail not. As thou hast been thou forever wilt be.” May I live with your generosity, your faithfulness, and your compassion today. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
 PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly February 3, 2017
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].