Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.' 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!' I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted." Luke 18:9-14
We are rapidly moving to the time of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. One part legislative, one part family reunion and another part off Broadway musical. In these last few weeks people have been postulating, arguing and pontificating in internet list serves, on Facebook and in their personal blogs. In every church and religious organization, there are always plenty of people who are full of themselves and know all the right answers. They are sure they know how to fix everything. What we hear little of in this season are those who are humble, who are praying for insight, compassion and sign.
Jesus tells another parable about our relationship to God through prayer. Prayer is our dialogue with the Divine, our conversation and invitation into the heart of God. Jesus tells the people that if they pray honestly and humbly, they will be forgiven and renewed. If they rely on their own goodness, they will find themselves humbled. We humans too often rely on our own insights and yet we don't know the whole story. God's love is the whole story and we are invited to throw ourselves on the mercy and love of God.
Today I ask God to help me be humble and constantly seek the way forward in prayer. May we not rely on ourselves alone, but instead embrace the understanding that we are entwined in the love of God which holds all of our futures, nurturing and caring for each, even when everything around us is uncertain.