23 October 2008

Saint James of Jerusalem, Brother of Jesus and Martyr

The Treasury of Daily Prayer notes that while some modern theologians believe St. James to have been the child of Joseph and the Blessed Virgin, throughout most of the Church (historically and even today) the title "brother" is taken to mean kinsman. St. James is the author of the epistle bearing his name in the New Testament, where he humbly refers to himself a "slave of Jesus Christ." Josephus recounts the story of his martyrdom in A.D. 62.

Pr. Gregory Wismar has penned a stanza for "By All the Saints" in honor of St. James of Jerusalem:

We sing of James, Christ's brother,
Who at Jerusalem
Told how God loved the Gentiles
And, in Christ, welcomed them.
Rejoicing in salvation
May we too, by God's grace,
Extend Christ's invitation
To all the human race.
LSB 518:27

The stanza has in mind the role that St. James played at the great Jerusalem Council, which he presided over, together with St. Peter and St. Paul.

The collect for this day asks that "we may follow his example of prayer and reconciliation and be strengthened by the witness of his death."


Brian P Westgate said...

What's the history behind yesterday's feast? I know it's relatively recent. Wikipedia doesn't help, but states that everybody has their own date on which to celebrate it.

William Weedon said...


I believe it's observance on this day began with the Episcopal Church here in America - their Proposed Book of Common Prayer (1978, I think) included it on this day. From there into LBW and from LBW into LSB.

Brian P Westgate said...

That makes sense. I'm pretty sure the WELS hymnal has it too, though I can't say if anyone celebrates it.

Anonymous said...

doesn't James, the Less, already have a feast day on May 1st (with St Philip)?

why did "they" create a new one?


Jon said...

There are probably at least two WELS congregations that may celebrate it....

I'll see on Sunday,

Chris said...

the Orthodox church has always celebrated the feast of St. James on this day. In fact on Oct. 23 only, unfortunately, is the Liturgy of St. James (some 5 hours long) celebrated in Jerusalem by the monks who care for the Church of the Resurrection.