After some infrequent blogging I’m going to attempt to post more regularly. Today at our service we started a study on the book of James (it’s part of the lectionary we’re following). James is an amazing book full of practicalities. In 108 verses there are over sixty direct commands. Today we studied chapter one verse sixteen to twenty-seven. The progression in this pericope is truly amazing. James commands his people to listen – to open their ears. He uses an amazing (and gross) word picture to illustrate what we should do.
19My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21Therefore,
get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly
accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
The English phrase ‘that is so prevalent’ is a translation of a single greek word – perisseia. It basically has the meaning of ‘abundance’ or ‘overflow’. What’s interesting about this word is the fact that the Greeks used this same word to explain a medical term. Let me show you a picture and then you can guess what the condition is that James describes with this word.
Now that, my friend, is a good piece of earwax! The Greeks used the word perisseia to describe someone with ‘excess ear wax’. So James urges his people to listen and remove the things that create an excess of earwax.
Then he urges his readers to do what they hear (and redefines the term ‘faith’). If you don’t do what you hear then you’re basically just fooling yourself. And a lifetime of doing this will leave you as an empty shell with a lot of knowledge and no soul. One of our discussions revolved around this question : what causes excess earwax in your life? As a reminder for the week we gave every person an earbud to remind them to clean their lives from all the ‘excess’ earwax.
Stay tuned for more on this passage …