“Suppose” starts chapter 2, verse 2 of James.  Hypothetically speaking, a visitor comes into a meeting and James questions what attracts our attention when we meet this new person and how do we respond.  He “supposes” that a rich person enters in fine clothing, the right tribe, the right language, a potential person “to build our group,”  a potential “belonger.”  “Suppose” at the same time, a street person comes in that we suspect has a list of needs for the church to help.  The question of favoritism arises.  Hypothetical situations are always hard to deal with as we know the right answer and hope we would respond that proper way but James points out, as he continues, that we have discriminated among ourselves and become judges with evil thoughts when we show deference to the rich.  The truth is that this “trial” reveals to us and to others the hierarchy of values that direct our lives.

         Perhaps one of the lessons to be pondered today is the truth that wealth is not an indicator of God’s favor.  There is a subtle and not-so-subtle tendency to believe that if I behave, if I follow the rules, I will be rewarded.   Job’s friends were convinced Job who lost family and wealth had somehow sinned and needed to confess.  Job even lost his health.  He had sores over his whole body.  Job maintained his innocence.  No skeletons in his closet.  But he still suffered.  Joseph is thrown into a pit by his jealous brothers and sold into slavery – because he was the favored son of the second wife.  Lazarus who sat as a beggar at the feet of the rich man was an unsuspected hero in the parable.  We love stories of rags to riches.  But all these stories focus on the circumstances of life and not on the circumstances of the heart.  We suspect the wealthy and successful have their act together.  Our news headlines about dishonesty might debunk the theory but…

         As we go about today, let us try and be aware of what catches our attention, the symbols of success of life, or the symbols of godliness.  Those are harder to see.  I feel like I need to sing the little song, “Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus.  To reach out and touch him and say that we love him.  Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen.  Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus,”  Amen, may it be so.  Blessings.

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