My spiritual life would be something totally different, if it were not for Christos Community Church. I am honored to be the planter / pastor for this young congregation, but I think I am the person who is blessed the most, here. I get to see God working in the human heart (most of the time, in mine!) very often. I really believe it, the church is the place for me. And that is the conclusion I have, after finishing reading James 5. Where else could I pray, when I am suffering? or praise, when cheerful? Many could say that is doable in private, in the intimacy of my own home. But then, James keeps going: If you are sick, call the elders! And he keeps adding to that, because the imagery in those verses (5:14-16) point to the offices of the priests and the prophets. All that James is saying here makes no sense, outside the church. It also establish the fact that God’s covenant with His people is continuous (He does not relate to us, now, in a totally different way than before), and His people enjoys unity throughout the ages.
At the center of the passage, James share with us the secret for real, authentic community (where else but in real and authentic community could you pray, praise, confess, and show concern for fellow believers?). And I think it is very important for us, in this day and age, to never lose sight of this secret. It is righteousness. God would never have it in any other way. We can try and try, to build that community we really, really long for. But it will not last. We need righteousness, and we do not have it. Righteousness is an attribute alien to the human heart (because of our sin!). How could we obtain it? Only in the great exchange: Jesus Christ takes our guilt, and He gives us His righteousness. And all because of His grace.