Liturgy Lesson: St. James the Apostle

Liturgy Lesson: St. James the Apostle

Today we commemorate St. James, a fisherman, the son of Zebedee, who with his brother of John, being called in their hearts by the Lord, left their family business to follow Jesus—after Jesus miraculously filled their previously empty nets with fish, in a place where the seasoned fishermen most likely doubted fish were. In fact, the successive calls were: (1) to friendly acquaintance (John 1:37); (2) to intimacy (Matt 4:18); (3) to permanent discipleship (Luke 5:11); (4) [toward the close of the first year of our Lord's ministry] to apostleship (Matt 10:1); (5) to renewed self dedication, even unto death (John 21:15-22). This gives us a powerful lesson from our liturgical calendar. St. James, who was a pragmatic “man’s man,” allowed the Lord to so transform his life that he became a man of faith so fiery the Lord called him and his brother, St. John, the “Sons of Thunder.” It was not a precipitous change, however; the men allowed the Lord to gradually change their hearts from a shallow, soulish interest, to being drawn close to the Lord to a point where they wanted to change their habits and attitudes in learning and training to giving up their lives for Jesus. Like the Church year, and the Mass itself, their lives are a model of our lives in the Lord—being drawn to Him at first by our emotions, allowing Him to be close to us in our hearts, becoming more willing to be changed elementally by Him, and finally giving up our lives—saving them in the end because we have lost them for Him!

Collect for St. James the Apostle

GRANT, O merciful God, that, as thine holy Apostle Saint James, leaving his father and all that he had, without delay was obedient unto the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him; so we, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections, may be evermore ready to follow thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (1928 BCP, p. 246)

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