+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening (A Collect for Peace – Tuesday)
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning Reading – James 3:1-18 (NLT)
Controlling the Tongue
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
True Wisdom Comes from God
If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
Faith speaks words of blessing, wisdom and peace.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit,
impartial and sincere. – James 3:17
A living faith produces good works and it also produces good words. How? By controlling what we say. Words matter – what we say to others reflects on our faith as much as what we do for others. Words can bless or curse.
Why the warning?
+ The tongue has as much destructive power as a spark in a forest. It is petite but powerful.
+ The tongue is the gate through which evil influences can spread like fire to inflame all the areas of life that we touch.
+ Apart from the Holy Spirit’s help no human being has ever been able to subdue his or her own tongue.
By way of contrast, a living faith speaks words of blessing, wisdom and peace.
+ Blessing: words of God’s favor and protection; words of encouragement and approval; words that strengthen and build up.
+ Wisdom: words that view life from God’s perspective and understanding; words that are gentle and gracious, spoken with humility and kindness.
+ Peace: words that are open to reason, full of mercy, considerate of others, sympathetic to the needy, willing to yield to reasonable requests.
Questions for consideration:
- Can you think of a time when you were wounded by hurtful words? Please explain.
- Can you think of a time when you spoke hurtful words to someone? Please explain.
- Can you think of someone who needs a word of blessing from you? What would you say to them? Please explain.
- Can you think of someone who needs a word of wisdom from you? What would you say to them? Please explain.
- Can you think of someone who needs you to be a peacemaker? What would that involve? Please explain.
Prayer of Blessing:
May the Lord bless you and protect you, and may he show you his mercy and loving-kindness. May the Lord be good to you and give you his peace through his Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
“Christ Be All Around Me” – Leeland
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen