Friday, December 5, 2008


Luke 20:45-47 and Luke 21:4
In the hearing of all the people he said to the* disciples, ‘Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.’

He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’

This passage of scripture is a part of today's Gospel reading from the Book of Common Prayer. It is easy to look at this verse and apply it to the happenings in the Anglican Communion today. Pointing fingers at someone else is always easier, and all the grandstanding being done this week makes it even more so. I'll admit that deposed bishop Duncan and company were the first people I thought about, and probably rightly so. However, Jesus sayings are almost never that specific, and usually can cut both ways.

Much to the dismay of most fundamentalists, Jesus ministry was about more than a legalistic notion of purity. But what is missed many times, even by progressive Christians like me, is Jesus call for honest humility in his servants. These passages give a warning to us about following leaders who are full of hubris, but it also gives us instruction for what we should aspire to, and how we as leaders ourselves should be.

Many times throughout the Gospels, Jesus praises those who are humble, who put others needs before their own out of love. The story of the rich people and the beggar woman is one example, but many others abound. Even the Old Testament prophets, like Ezekiel and Isaiah speak of doing for others and putting aside your pride.

How many times have you done something for someone, and became upset when you were not recognized for it. What are your motivations for doing what you do. Are you doing it for the sheer joy of doing it, because it is needed, or is it because you want to be noticed? We are all guilty of this in one way or another. Some more so than others, but we all have our moments.

What Jesus is talking about in this passage is attitudes. When we do for others, it should be from our hearts. This season, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord, think about that. Remember why we celebrate, and why we give.
Merry Christmas

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