We are studying James 2:1-13 for Sunday, November 29 (which is also the First Sunday in Advent); this is James’s critique of “partiality” in the church. [A few notes on this text are here.] Here are a few questions we might want to consider in our study of the text:
Who seems to be the audience for this text?
Do we feel the text speaks to us? Why?
What “acts of favoritism” do we ourselves perform? What has made those acts of favoritism seem normal, or “only natural,” before now, do we think?
What do we imagine the consequences will be, or would be, for not performing those particular “acts of favoritism”? What would it mean for the life of our congregation? Or, our community?
When James says “mercy triumphs over judgment,” what judgment do we think he means? [Here, it will probably help to go back through the text and look at the different times “judge” or “judgment” is mentioned.]
What thoughts or feelings does this question bring up? Why, do we think?
What are some of the practical challenges this text presents us with? What would we need to do to begin to address those challenges? What are some of the obstacles to doing that?
Assuming we could address those practical challenges, what would change, do we think? In our own lives? In our congregation? In our community? Why?
How do we think we would feel about those changes? Why is that?