Lew Gervais, in a devotional, asks us to imagine a scene unfold in a church:
“Bill is wild haired; his wardrobe for college is jeans and a T-shirt with holes in it. He recently became a believer, a follower of Jesus, while attending a campus Bible study.
“Across from campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. One Sunday Bill decides to go there. He walks in late and shoeless. The sanctuary is packed. Bill heads down the aisle looking for a seat. Having nearly reached the front, he realizes there are no empty seats, so he squats down on the carpet. The congregation is feeling uncomfortable.
“Then from the back of the church, a gray-haired elder in a three-piece suit starts walking toward Bill with a cane. The worshipers don't expect a man in his eighties to understand some college kid on the floor. With all eyes focused on the developing drama, the pastor is about to start his sermon, but he waits, wondering what the elder is going to do.”
Well, I’ll finish this exercise in imagination this weekend. I’ll tell you what he does. And what he does will be the beginning of a lesson on discrimination, the kind of discrimination that comes from prejudice. It’s what James 2 addresses, our text for this weekend.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us aspire to be non-discriminating. We aspire to care more about a person than about their outward appearance, their color, their ethnicity, the way they dress…all of that.
Yet we all discriminate and we play favorites. It’s usually done in subtle ways.
God wants to kill that impulse in us. And James shows how three big theological concepts—glory, kingdom, and love—have everyday, real world significance and can kill the impulse to discriminate.
We can be increasingly free to love and to see beyond outward appearances.
I hope to see you this weekend and maybe there’s someone you can invite who would resonate with this subject.