Here’s a two-voice setting of James 1:17-27, the suggested epistle reading for Proper 17 B (the fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost).
One: Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father,
who created all the lights in the heavens.
He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
Two: He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word.
And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.
One: Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:
You must all be quick to listen,
slow to speak,
and slow to get angry.
Two: Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives,
and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts,
for it has the power to save your souls.
One: But don’t just listen to God’s word.
You must do what it says.
Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
Two: For if you listen to the word and don’t obey,
it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.
You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.
One: But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free,
and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard,
then God will bless you for doing it.
Two: If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue,
you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.
One: Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father
means caring for orphans and widows in their distress
and refusing to let the world corrupt you.