Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No mercy

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’" Matthew 9:12-13

I have always been fascinated with pirates. I have a figurine of Anne Bonny, the famous female pirate. She was famed for her fierce fighting and her lack of mercy. When the Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out, I was thrilled and enthralled. Pirates are thieves and violent folks who live by a code known only to themselves. They were feared and reviled throughout history. And they have enthralled us also - their sense of adventure and lawlessness.

Today we read the story of the calling of Matthew. The religious leadership was furious with Jesus - he was hanging out with the worst kind of people, the scourge of society. Tax collectors were feared and loathed - just as pirate were. People felt unsafe and dirty in their presence. And there was Jesus in the midst of them and calling one of society's filth to be his disciple.

We live today in a world where upstanding citizens shun the lowly and refuse health care and basic needs from the poor. They are spurned from society and yet in many cases society has created the place that they are in. And there are also outlaws among us, people who live by stealing and usury in order to survive. And Jesus called disciples from among the righteous and society's outcasts and outlaws. God loves the pirates as well as the proper, the broken as well as the whole. God loves the mercy and kindness we show. God is less impressed when we act like holy martyrs.
May we all remember that Gods love is for all- the pirate and the victim, the rich and poor, law abiding and lawless alike. We are all these people at times. May we rejoice today that Jesus lives among us.

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