Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Can we believe?

Based on the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18)

Oh Lord, says the proud man
I am your person
I follow the rules
I more than follow the rules.....
unlike those irresponsible ones
those people who are addicted,
and poor
those liars and cheats
I am thankful I am not like "them"

Oh Lord, says the hurting one
There is not much I can say
I am really a mess
Please have mercy
And then, here I am,
looking on….

I can tell you when I look at this story I find myself judging the judger.
Look at that arrogant person, that Westboro Baptist type person
Who has no compassion for those weaker than him.
Who thinks he can categorize others as outsiders… those outside of God’s love.

Here I am
Judging the judger

Here I am
looking at the Tax Collector… Still judging a little
Or perhaps identifying a little
but not ready… yet, to go full in on this grace thing

I mean after all.  Does this miserable piece of humanity….
Ooops, I mean does this poor repentant man really mean it?
Is he going to change?  Is he going to stop being a tax collector?  Stop doing bad things?

Here I am… judging still
Knowing he, and I are both sinners, but not really sure about God’s grace as it relates to his sins
Finding myself, in some ways, as judgmental as the Pharisee

Here we are
The super righteous , the unrighteous, and even those of us who are semi righteous
We all have the same issue…….

We don’t quite trust,  don’t quite believe in God’s grace
God’s scandalous love

Mr Righteous didn’t… he thought he had to do it himself
And sadly thought he could, that is where the judgment came from

Mr Unrighteous hoped in that grace… but I wonder if he really believed it
I wonder if he really knew, without a doubt, that as bad as he was
He was forgiven, loved, accepted

He was, Jesus told us that didn’t he?  But did the tax collector really get it?
Or was he just engaging in wishful thinking?

And what about us?
Can we believe in God’s love?
That it is big enough for that hateful, angry judging person we see on TV
Or have met in our own lives?

Can we believe in God’s love?
That it is big enough for the person who hurt us
Robbed us?
That it is big enough for the young man who killed those children?

Can we believe in God’s love
That it is big enough for us
Who mostly, but perhaps not quite, believe in the love and forgiveness
And in God’s acceptance of us?

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