Reflection on the Feast of
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
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.
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.
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?
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
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
As we watch daily news reports of record heat, record loss
of crop potential from heat and drought, and fish dying in overly
- 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
- 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!"