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St. James
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Reflection on the Feast of St. James
by Charles Morello, Jr., delivered at St. James' Episcopal Church, Hibbing, MN, July 22, 2012

[hold up smart phone]

  • How many of you have one of these?
  • How many of you know what Twitter is?
  • How many of you know what a Tweet is?

This morning I am going to talk to you in a series 4 tweets of 140 characters (or less) and with a little elaboration of each tweet as we look at the Saint named James the Apostle.
If you tweet please tweet my "tweets" or your thoughts to #epeconet during my sermon

Tweet 1:
A dedicated & trusted apostle knows where to go for action and, as a gospel communicator, is willing to preach gospel anywhere.

James was among the favorite apostles of Jesus - and he was the "ever-present" apostle:

  • James and his brother (John) wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan town, but were rebuked by Jesus (Luke 9:51-6)
  • He was one of only three apostles whom Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration
  • James (and John) were present at the healing of Peter's mother-in-law (Mark 1, 29), and at the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5, 37; Luke 8, 51)
  • They are described in private conversation with Jesus on the mount of Olives (Mark 13, 3).
  • He was one of three disciples called apart from the others in Gethsemane (Matthew 26, 37; Mark 14, 33).

Further, James had a particular nickname - "son of thunder" - given to him by Jesus (Mark 3:17), in part because James was burning and impetuous in his evangelical zeal and swift in losing his temper. Nothing was going to stop James and by 40 CE he was preaching the gospel on the Iberian Peninsula.

Tweet 2:
When Jesus enters your life, you are changed forever, and you want to share that with everyone else and be with Jesus forever.

In today's reading, James feels that, as one of the apostles, that he is in a position to go to Jesus and ask Jesus to give him whatever he asks (even tho' it's James' Mother who says the words). Jesus doesn't rebuke him but digs further. James (and John) shows a lack of understanding of Jesus' mission by asking to sit on Jesus' side when Jesus "comes into glory."

Jesus knows that they didn't know what they are asking. They don't see the cross in his future, but only an earthly throne. Could they drink of the cup Jesus would drink of? They think they could and Jesus tells them they will indeed drink of that cup.

Tweet 3:
James passes the test in Mark 20 and drinks from the cup. Can we drink from the cup as well?

In 44 CE James was beheaded by Herod for preaching the gospel. James traditionally is believed to be the first of the 12 apostles martyred for his faith.
And there have been many others over the years:

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador,

to name a few.

They all saw a need to preach Jesus' gospel and gave up their earthly lives to be fishers of souls for a heavenly kingdom.

Can we be "fishers of souls" rather than "fishers of food"? Can we drink of that cup?

Tweet 4:
Change your diet: eat fish now. A warming climate may make it hard in a few years to find fish to eat. You may have nothing to eat.

The clamshell is one of the symbols of St. James because he was initially a fisherman.

We know the story:
The day dawned after the end of long fruitless night of fishing. As James sat mending his nets in the boat with his brother John and his father Zebedee, he probably watched in wonder as his partner Simon brought in nets loaded with fish he had caught at the command of Jesus. I wonder what he thought when he saw Simon and his brother Andrew walk away from this incredible catch merely at a word from this same Jesus.

Then Jesus walks toward him followed by Simon and Andrew. I wonder if his pulse raced or if he could have tweeted something. Jesus didn't pass him by but called James and his brother John to do just what Simon and Andrew had done. Without argument or discussion, James and John left their boat and even their father behind, and followed Jesus.

At this point James stopped fishing for food and began fishing for souls. His diet changed.

Our diet will be changing in the coming years - both spiritually and physically

As we watch daily news reports of record heat, record loss of crop potential from heat and drought, and fish dying in overly warm waters,

  • Do we have an indication for us that our lives are changing?
  • Can we, like James on the boat, see where Jesus' apostles of today are working to save God's creation in this time of need?
  • Do we say "yes" and follow Jesus in preaching by word and deed the gospel of hope for creation?

For the last question, to quote the Book of Common Prayer, "We will, with God's help!"

Charles "Chuck" Morello, Communicator for MEESC and the Episcopal Ecological Network and a licensed preacher in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, attended St. James Episcopal Church in Hibbing, MN, when he originally delivered this reflection in 2012. He and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Chuck Morello or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the website.


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