December 3, 2013 by lellielieb
“ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness…”
The Collect for Advent Sunday begins with these words. It’s meant to be read every day during Advent, so I have been beginning my reading each day with this prayer and I’ve found myself looking in the scripture passages for works of darkness to be cast out. Today the readings were from Isaiah, Mark, and James. The one that stood out to me today was from James 2-the sin of partiality.
“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
It’s not that I have a lot of opportunity to greet the rich and snub the poor. The thing I found convicting was there at the end of the passage. The person who prefers the rich man to the poor one is making a judgement. He has decided that one man is more valuable than another. I don’t want to admit it; I really wish it wasn’t true, but if I am going to be honest with myself I have to say that there are times when I do this. I prefer the curious, hard-working, pleasant students to the bored, lazy and sullen ones. I prefer people who agree with me to those who don’t. I prefer introverts who understand me (and leave me alone) to extroverts who try to get me to do things I don’t want to do. I could go on and on.
“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. but if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”
That’s pretty clear. I need grace to cast out this particular work of darkness. Lord, please show me my sin and pour out Your grace!