Aug 20, 2012

Readers' Theatre: James 1: 17-27

Here’s an alternative version of James 1:17-27, based on a paraphrase by Nathan Nettleton.

Readers’ Theatre: James 1:17-27

One:     Genuine no-strings-attached generosity is found only in God,
            and everything that is really worth having
            comes as a gift from the God who lights up our darkness.

Two:     There is nothing two-faced about God —

One:     nothing fickle or shifty, nothing hidden in the shadows.

Two:     We were conceived by God’s own love and desire and,
            with the Word of Truth as midwife,
            God gave birth to us and held us up for all to see,
            just as besotted parents always show off their precious newborn children.

One:     My beloved friends, let me spell out some crucial wisdom:
            listening is your number one priority when you interact with others.
            Listen long and hard before you do anything else.
            There will be time to speak later,
            and if there is to be anger, see that it comes last of all
            when you’re sure you’ve got everything perfectly clear.

Two:     Anger, by itself, never gives birth to the sort of active integrity God desires.

One:     Think of yourselves as a garden in need of attention.
            Clear away the putrid garbage and all those noxious weeds
            that choke off any desirable thing that tries to get established.
            Pull them out roots and all.

Two:     Then, like well prepared soil, welcome what God plants in you.
            Let the seed of God’s Word send down roots deep inside you,
            saving you from ruin and restoring you to rich fruitfulness.

One:     When the Word is sown in you,
            don’t let anything stop it bearing fruit in your actions.

Two:     Don’t let it go in one ear and out the other
            while kidding yourself that you’ve heard it.

One:     Hearing the word and then failing to act on it
            is about as ridiculous as taking a good look at yourself in the mirror
            and then still walking out the front door with gravy on your chin!

Two:     If, on the other hand, you carefully look into the ways of God —

One:     the laws of freedom —

Two:     and consistently put them into practice
            instead of just filing them away for later reference,
            then you will find God backing you up at every turn,
            making everything you do fruitful and satisfying.

One:     There are those who think of themselves
            as being the epitome of true religion,
            and yet they can’t even control their own tongues.
            They are deluding themselves and their religion is not worth a zack.

Two:     The religion that really shows us to be God’s children —
            the religion that is free of any fault or hypocrisy — is this:

One:     care for those who no one else cares for,
            and don’t allow yourself to be corrupted by the callous ways of the world.

~ Paraphrase copyright © 2000 Nathan Nettleton