Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lent Day 13: The Turning of the Screw

Romans continues. At the beginning of chapter 2, the reader is in for a surprise:

Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. ~ Romans 2:1

While Paul has been speaking of "those people" in the third person, in a sense, lulling the reader into a false sense of security ("Yes! It's true! Those damned perverts! Thank God I'm not like them, with their echo chamber of self-congratulations..."). And suddenly... it's not about "them," it's about "you." Whoever you are. Because by judging others you prove that you yourself are guilty.

Here's my favorite line: Or do you despise the riches of [God's] kindness and forbearance and patience? (v. 4) Great question. Why is God's grace and mercy intolerable to some?

Here's the line I claim for myself from this morning's lectionary, discomfort though I have with "shepherd" language (I tend to think there's one Shepherd; the rest of us religious professionals are very lucky sheepdogs, running around and nipping at people's heels). But today I feel compelled to claim this, the way I believe my congregation would claim it if you asked any of them to describe my ministry among them today:

I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. ~ Jeremiah 3:15

That's what I am, a shepherd/ sheepdog after God's own heart. And God is after my heart, too.


bugs said...

What a challenge - to be a shepherd after God's own heart!

i guess this is one of the things that frightens me most, the responsibility to lead others in a way that would make God smile.

LittleMary said...

sheepdog...i like that.