Almost spilled milk.

My three and half year-old son took the gallon of milk out of the fridge all by himself the other day. His plan was to pour himself a large glass of milk and savor every drop. The kid loves milk. The only problem is that the gallon of milk is about 30% of his body weight. After he successfully got it out of the fridge door, he couldn’t lift it, move it. He just dropped it on the ground and finally decided he needed help. 

He is at that age where he has decided he is a “big boy” and can do anything. Thus, he tries to do everything with various levels of success. I can’t judge him too hard for this as I think every single adult does this same thing at times. Let me explain. 

In the gospel Jesus is teaching about marriage, divorce, and, ultimately, authority. The Pharisees were asking if divorce is lawful. Jesus responds that it is not because what God has joined, humans cannot separate. 

I think we often fall into thinking that we have final authority. What we says goes. ”It’s my life.” It’s my beliefs.” “Its my body.” Fill in your favorite way to make the same statement – I’m in charge and there is no one in authority over me. Some people believe this. Some people think this statement is objectively wrong. Unfortunately, we all live like we believe it at times. 

No matter what we believe about this statement, we all encounter moments when we act like we are the ultimate authority in the universe. Sometimes we act as if the whole of existence depends upon us. 

The truth is that God is God and we are not. God is the author of truth, not us. The sin of Adam and Eve wasn’t just eating a pomegranate (not an apple, FYI). Their sin was disobeying God by trying to be the the author of truth. Their sin was trying to become God, to do God’s job instead of being a fully alive human being. 

When we try to write our own truth, we engage in the same sin as Adam and Eve. When we seek to be God, we aren’t being the beloved son and daughter of God that we were made to be. No matter how hard we try or how it may look, we aren’t the author of truth. That is a good thing.

LIVE IT: If we are going to believe that God is author of truth, we should read his book. Read just chapter 10 from Mark’s Gospel. It’s not long, but it is good. Find it here. 

Sunday Readings for Oct. 3, 2021.

Talking to Yourself

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Sunday Readings for Oct 27, 2019

One of my earliest memories is sitting in the backseat of the car and watching my dad talk to himself. I don’t mean in unsettling or mental health sort of way. Rather in the kind of way I think most of us do. I’ve been caught by my children rehearsing a conversation before it happens or working out a problem and not realizing how public I am being about it. I’ve even been known to win arguments with not so present adversaries. 

In the gospel tells a parable about a prideful Pharisee and a humble sinner. In the story, the Pharisee stands in his regular pew and offers up a prayer “to himself.” I used to think this meant he said it quietly, but more recently I think this means that was actually praying to himself. He wasn’t actually thanking God, but in fact thanking himself for his own self determined goodness. 

I think sometimes we do pray to ourselves. We think or speak prayers in such a way that glorifies us. We utter intentions that ask ourselves to make something happen or to be okay with a situation. We ask for our own favor so that we can do whatever we were going to do anyway.  

Jesus taught us so many lessons with this simple parable, but for me, I think the lesson this year is to make sure I am praying to God and not myself. That means I need to offer praise for what God has done, not me. I need to thank God for what he has given me. I must ask him for things only he can provide. If we actually learn to pray to God and not ourselves, I think we won’t have to worry about whether we are prideful or humble, self-righteous or justified by God alone. 

LIVE IT: Make tonight’s prayer the name of Jesus. Just pray the name of Jesus over and over as slowly and with as much meaning as you can muster. Do this for as long as you need to.