James is right to warn us. Favoritism comes in many forms. It’s normal, it’s visceral, it’s cultural. It is the playbook that we know. But it’s not the only set of rules at our disposal. The “royal law,” as James calls it? The playbook of the kingdom of God? That comes straight from Jesus: Love our neighbors as ourselves … love one another as Christ has loved us. The royal law of the kingdom of God? In the end, it boils down to this: the law of God is the law of love.
The Book of James has some hard things to say to us about our faith, and what it means to be followers of Jesus. About how important our words are, and our actions, the things we do and say. How important it is to live with integrity, in a way that the light of Christ shines in us and through us. So that our own faith isn’t just a now-and-then thing, or a Sunday morning ritual, but soaks into every pore of our lives, and we don’t back away when it’s hard.
So that whatever we do, our faith is embodied. And, like Fred Rogers, our own prayer might be, of our own lives, “Dear God, let some word that is heard be yours.”