Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Not the Righteous, but Sinners

That's who Jesus came to call, not the righteous but sinners.  On Sundays when I think I'm not good enough for church, I remember this passage.  Jesus didn't come for those who are good enough.  He came for those who aren't good enough.  He came for you and me.

Shame is very prevalent in our world today, along with it's cousin, Pride.  I've talked to some folks and heard from others who feel like they can't come to church because they aren't good enough.  Sometimes parents don't come because they don't feel their children will behave well enough.  This is backwards. 

The only people who don't belong in church are perfect people (Jesus excepted, of course!). 

Shame and pride need not keep us from an encounter with Jesus through prayer, scripture, people, and sacrament.  Shame and pride are the reasons we need such an encounter.   They are the reasons Jesus is calling us saying, "come, as you are; sit at my feet, and be healed."

Some have found churches to be judgmental, places where they aren't accepted because they've messed up, or they don't dress well enough, or act just right, etc.  I tell these people too, to come back, come to St. Mark's.  Experience grace, not judgment.   

That's what churches are meant to be, places filled with grace.  Churches are places where we see one another as broken by life and redeemed by Jesus.  We see one another as doing the best we can, and we offer grace for most of the times when our best isn't good enough.  We see one another as God's beloved Children, as Brothers and Sisters.  We see one another struggle and say, "it's ok, I'm here with you." 

Church is the place where Jesus has called us all together:  the broken, the sinners, the screw ups, the not good enoughs, the strivers, the lovers, the good-hearted, the broken-hearted, the shamed, and the scorned.  Jesus calls us all together to share in his grace.  Jesus calls us and says, "Come to me all who are weary and carrying heaven burdens.  Lay them down, and take up instead my forgiveness, my teaching, my blessing, and my love."  (Matthew 11:28, paraphrased).

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