Sunday, my rector preached from Luke 18:10-14
Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (NLT)
My rector's sermon was much like Jesus' story. It caught me. I've preached from this exact text dozens of times. And yet, this Sunday, the Holy Spirit caught me. For my rector pointed out that whenever we hear this story we tend to identify with the tax collector, silently whispering, at least to ourselves, "Thank God I am not like the Pharisee in the sto..." Oops...
Why did he have to preach this sermon at this point of our election cycle? It hardly seems fair.
My Democratic supporting friends are clearly acting just like the Pharisee. I read their posts every day, and the drive me nuts! (My Rep leaning friend's posts make me laugh in their unintended silliness, but they know enough not to play the Moral Majority Card that the Dems stole from their playbook.)
As I see it, the only trouble with their position is that Hillary's election is deadly. According to a Huffington Post article, written to support her, she wants to buttress our defenses and make our military's presence in the world even more deadly. Additionally, she is outspoken in her support of partial birth abortion and Planned Parenthood, which (despite their claims to the contrary) was created as a way to control the African American population. Unfortunately, they are doing a better job than any of their eugenically inclined founders ever dreamed.
Because she is running against a morally inept patsy, her own moral bankruptcy is overlooked. "It is not nearly as bad as his... nothing has ever been proven..." the argument seems to go. "If she had Trump's history as a woman, she'd be crucified." They are right about that last bit. She would. But it needs to be said, because she is a woman, to some she can do no wrong. She is, in essence, in many ways, the twin of Margaret Thatcher.
Returning to my rector's sermon; my trouble is, as soon as I point my finger at the Dems for being pompous hypocrites who hide behind a wall of intellectual snobbery and dishonesty; I join them in at the bottom of the outhouse... I judge shit. Just like them, when I claim "to be better," I become the Pharisee in the story. As evidenced by my belief that I have taken the moral high ground.
What I need to be doing is beating my breast, looking up to heaven and asking for God's forgiveness for being too proud to love, and judging those who judge fiercely and without empathy.
I'm sorry. I am wrong in my reactions. I am grateful to have a rector who cares enough to catch me in my sin.