Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 30th July 2023: The letter of James - 3: The man with the hoodie

Discrimination Helping others Poor Compassionate Need James 2

Reading : James, Chapter 2


My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please’, while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there’, or, ‘Sit at my feet’, have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


A friend of mine once decided to try an active parable on his large city congregation. He.announced the week before that a special visitor would join them the following Sunday. The congregation wondered who it would be, and the churchwardens and 'welcomers' were ready early as the people began to enter the church. Everyone was eager to see who would join them. Would it be the local Mayor, or a famous celebrity? There were all sorts of guesses.

The children were shephereded to their usual spot, since they were to sing an action song. The parents and grandparents were keen to get near the front to see them Newcomers were welcomed, but there was no sign of the special visitor. Finally, the service started, the Vicar welcomed everyone and asked the special visitor to come forward. Everyone looked round, who was it? Finally an elderly man shuffled forward wearing dirty, smelly clothes, and with a hoody pulled low over his face. He had been sitting at the back in the corner. No-one had wanted to sit near him. Then removing the hoodie and his smelly coat, suddenly there was a man they knew! It was their Bishop!

One of the readings used that morning, from the Letter of James became apparent. Many felt ashamed at their treatment of the Bishop, though he was gentle with them pointing out that most people would have behaved in this way. He pointed out that God calls everyone, whatever our circumstances, and our task is to make them welcome and offer help to those who need it. The congregation took this to heart and in the months to come set up a food bank and some of the congregation began helping at a local shelter.


Heavenly Father,
we believe that humans
are made in Your image,
and Your Son taught us
that You love all who come to You.
May we see through appearance,
sickness, or poverty
to the real person beneath,
and to offer what help we can.

Follow Up Thoughts

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