December 06, 2004

Re: James 4:13-17

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money." Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
-- James 4:13-17 (NRSV)



The defining lines in this verse for me are these: "...Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. "

We don't know what the future will bring. Our lives are so temporary. Almost all of us alive today will be gone in 100 years or less. Living as though God exists in us, perhaps a reasonable goal is that we are we able to fully appreciate this very moment. When I consider this very moment, I recognize its perfection, just the way it is, with not one thing needing to be different. To be fully mindful of God's presence, and the rich blessing of this present moment eliminates much fear and suffering.

"What is your life?..." This passage suggests that our life is illusory, and even this illusion will vanish in time. To accept the temporary and illusory nature of this life creates humility, and encourages us to drop any arrogance, and live a manner in which the God in us speaks.

This whole verse seems to teach us that it is not enough to talk about faith, but that we must live it with God in each moment.


2 Comments:

At 6:57 AM, Blogger david said...

I certainly see your point -- and I agree it is also James' point.

Life is transitory fragmentary and subject to things beyond our control and understanding. Accepting that is a step on the path of faith.

For me the word "illusion" is too strong. I'm just too mired in Western philosophies to fully embrace Eastern teachings about maya and illusion as anything other than metaphor.

Fortunately -- I can still learn from metaphors.

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Marjorie said...

In response to kwakersaur's commnet about 'illusory' -- I can understand Meredith's point, but I don't take illusory as literal as in my life doesn't exist. I take illusory to mean transitory and something else -- it implies to me a detachment, almost a lightheartedness as in not to take things too seriously. As is the case with all of Meredith's writings that I've seen, I can't quite put my finger on it, explain it or understand it -- all I know is that in the moment I'm reading it and reflecting on it, there is peace.

 

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