Archive for March 4th, 2023

Luke 18:9-14: More than Ourselves


James Tissot: The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Jesus tells his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people.

The story begins in this way . . . Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man.

“I know this one,” we tell ourselves. But do we really?

“I am the Tax Man,” we say as we move quickly through the verses. But do family, friends and strangers alike see us this way?

“I am humble,” we continue, “and so will be made great”. But is this all there is to the story?

Jesus reminds us: If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.

It is likely that most of us are both tax man and Pharisee as we move through our days; and it is certain that God’s forgiving heart heals our wounds and forgives our errors. When we read various versions of this well-known story, the impact of the daily choice we make to accept our foibles and forgive faults in others is evident. And it is certain that when we lay all that we are and all that we do in God’s able hands, we allow God’s great love to make us more than we ever might have dreamt.

This is God’s great kingdom and commandment of love at work. This is the power of the love that Jesus brings to the world. This is the effect and outcome of the Spirit’s nurturing, healing presence. For even when we walk with our noses in the air, God makes a way for us to become more than ourselves.

As we consider the tax men and Pharisees in our lives and where we place our hopes and build alliances, we better understand the reality of this week’s Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “The dream of peace is an unreal and distant illusion,” let us think instead, “The dream of peace we hold is present in God’s kingdom. And God’s kingdom is now”.

Click on the image above for a study and reflection on these verses, or visit: http://www.swordofthespirit.net/bulwark/february2014p8.htm 

Tomorrow, you have seen him.

Image from: http://www.swordofthespirit.net/bulwark/february2014p8.htm

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