This Sunday — The Testimony of Integrity and James 1

Hello Church Family,

I hope you’re having a good afternoon.

This Sunday we are looking at what is sometimes known as the “testimony of integrity” among Friends. It seems to me integrity is one of the more challenging convictions from our faith tradition, especially in today’s “celebrity culture.” What does it mean for us as Friends to live truthfully? To live honestly? And to pursue wholeness? How have we understood integrity in our own lives? These are some of the questions I’m wrestling with this week.

The scripture I’ve chosen for us to reflect on comes from the letter of James:

“You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:18–27 NRSV)

Queries:

  • What jumps out at you about this passage?
  • What do you make of this imagery around the mirror and being doers of the word?
  • How do we as a community of Friends realize this notion of living truthfully and with integrity?

Blessings,
Wess