These days the first lectionary reading is from the Letter of James, a letter full of much wisdom for the community of faith.
James is particularly hard on the rich and those who ignore the poor. For him, what is really important in following God is real openness to God and others. James 1:27 puts it bluntly:
Religion pure and undefiled is this: taking care of widows and orphans in their distress and keeping oneself unspotted from the world.
This morning the selection (James 4: 1-10) starts out with a biting critique of our desires as the source war and conflicts.
But what struck me was the first part of verse 8:
Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you.
Draw near to a God who is always near – even though we do not feel his presence.
Bring yourself to an awareness of God’s presence.
For God is always drawing nearer and nearer to us.
Open your heart and be present.
Not always easy – but always possible – for God is always near.