Oct 17, 2016
It’s easy to believe that we are nothing like the Pharisee or the Tax collector in today’s reading, but I think most of us have a bit of a self righteous streak. To make the point in the prayer of confession and in the sermon I’ve updated the Pharisee’s prayer. "Thank-you God because I am not like used car salesmen, sharp lawyers, Islamic terrorists or that politician I saw on TV last night. I don't vote for my own superannuation, or kiss babies to get on TV. I am generous even though I earn less than most of these people and I help pay the minister's wages. You have truly blessed me Lord." Forgive us from this pride. Lord have mercy on me a sinner. It’s easy to build ourselves up by putting others down. The message of today’s Bible lesson is that it is God’s mercy and not our relative goodness or superiority which makes us right with God. It is the tax collector who can bring nothing but his sin and need, who Jesus says is justified. (The one put right with God.)
Do not leave church today saying I thank-you God that I am not like.... Instead leave saying thank-you God for you have forgiven me freely and set me free to stop serving myself and to serve You and others.
Questions for thought or discussion. Have you ever found yourself thinking that you are in some way better than, or more moral than another person? What, if anything does the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee say about this? What place is there for the good things the Pharisee does if a public sinner like a Pharisee is declared by Jesus to be right with God?
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