Today’s reading is just two verses, but it says so much. The key word
here is wisdom, and you’ll notice that God’s wisdom is very different
from what we are usually taught. Most of us have learned since
childhood not to let others push us around. We’ve been encouraged to
decide what we want and to go for it, making sure we don’t let anyone
get in our way. But James says that God’s wisdom is to be concerned for
others. It seeks peace, and it is willing to yield to others. Yielding, we
have been told, is weakness, so we don’t like to do that. Yet, this is
exactly what Jesus did, and what we are called to do. Furthermore,
when we choose this gentle path of peace, James says, we reap a
harvest of peace and righteousness. What feels like weakness, brings
wholeness, connection, life, and strength into the world. This is the
paradox of God’s wisdom.
It can be hard for us to release our own agendas. It can also be hard to
recognize times when “yielding” actually requires us to stand up against injustice. Abuse and oppression hurt both victim and perpetrator, and so
sometimes the most loving thing to do is to stand against bullies. But it is
possible to stand for justice with an attitude of gentleness, love, and
compassion. If you doubt this, read the story of Rosa Parks! Significantly,
though, one of the best ways we can contribute to a world of peace and
justice, according to James, is to stop insisting that everything must go
our way. When we learn to let go of our need to be in control, we
discover the freedom of creativity, connection and mutual service.
Being part of a faith community always teaches us to serve one another.
Whether it’s serving tea, playing a musical instrument, or just greeting
others, we all have something to contribute to the larger agenda of
God’s Reign. But we can also do this on a daily basis, finding those
small and important ways to serve others, and let go of our addiction to
having everything our own way.
Teach me the wisdom of serving and of holding my agendas lightly, O