Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 28: Year 2
AM Psalm 107:33to43 and 108; PM Psalm 33;
Malachi 3:13to4:6; James 5:13to20; Luke 18:9to14
“But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13)
I had to mail something to Raleigh yesterday that was very important to me. So I went to a local post office to make sure if was correct. Raleigh being the capital of North Carolina and all, I wanted to make sure my U.S. mail was properly sent by a method of tracking.
So I approached the postal clerks with all humility. And when I heard the next customer called to the next available clerk, I went to the clerk in that same humility. I actually said, “I need mercy and patience to help me properly mail this package.” The clerk smiled and told me what I needed to do, and after I misprinted the “to” and “from” spaces, she just smiled again and helped me straighten it out. I could not have moved on in any sense of accomplishment had it not been for the wonderful and compassionate postal worker.
I know that many people approach sales reps and clerks with arrogance and a sense of superiority. They like saying who they are and what they have accomplished, sort of like the Pharisee in our Luke reading for today; but not me. I knew that if I was going to get anywhere close to what I wanted, it was going to be at the mercy of the postal clerk whom I stood in front of.
So too it is with eternal salvation. We must ask God to be merciful to us, a sinner. And pray God saves us so that we may return to our homes justified. Justification, in my postal experience, was made manifest in going back to my home with routing numbers and a tracking code on the web.
Arrogance and self promotion has no place in God’s Kingdom. We must follow the tax collector’s lead in doing the will of God.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John