Thursday, June 13, 2013

Words for the week - "situationally Christian?"

Last week, I preached about hypocrisy.  I have recently changed my diet to something akin to veganism, but because of all the exceptions to my rule, I can’t properly be called a vegan.  Instead, I call myself “situationally vegan” which means I’m not really vegan at all.  

Our lives can’t stand up to absolute scrutiny.  We all have commitments that would be easier to honor “situationally” or only when convenient.    Some would like to be “situationally married.”  Some would like to be “situationally a parent.” Some would like to only situationally pay the bills.  All of us, even with our best efforts, end up being “situationally Christian.”  It is impossible for us to follow Jesus with complete integrity, but the grace is that we don't have to.  Yes, we try. But we are humbled by knowing that we can't ever reach perfection.  Through Christ’s healing love we are given a wholeness we can’t achieve on our own.

This week I will preach about forgiveness.  The gospel (Luke 7) features a woman who is called “a sinner.”  Jesus angers the Pharisees by allowing her to wash his feet.  He then points out through a parable that the Pharisees are also sinners.  This, of course, would offend them greatly. Those who take offense at their sinfulness can't claim the great gift of forgiveness.  We have to come clean in order to be free from our guilt.  

We need hide nothing from God.  Forgiveness is as great a miracle as physical healing.  Better.  Forgiveness is ours for the taking but in order to take it, we have to be honest about our guilt.  As psalm 32 says:  While I kept silence, my body wasted away…Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and you forgave the guilt.”  

A frequent worshiper has taken to sending me a poem in response to worship and sermons.  This has created a wonderful dialogue.  In last week's sermon, I talked about how many of us would be embarrassed to have our financial life scrutinized.  The poem sent in response was "Oniomania" by Peter Pereira. I especially like the last line: "She's looking for love but it's not for sale, so she grabs 3 of the next best thing."

Oniomania - Peter Pereira
Not so much the desire
for owning things
as the inability to choose
between hunter or emerald
green, to buy
just roses, when there are birds
of paradise, dahlias,
delphinium, and baby’s breath.
At center an emptiness
large as a half-off sale table.
What could be so wrong
with a little indulgence?
To wander the aisles of fresh
new good things knowing
any of them could be hers?
With a closet full of shoes
unworn back home,
she’s looking for love
but it’s not for sale —
so she grabs three of
the next best thing.


  1. you are invited to follow my blog

  2. I love everything about this post!

  3. Thanks Natalie! That's the encouragement I need to keep on blogging. Blessings!


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