Archive for October, 2010

“God, Be Merciful to Me, a Sinner”


Have you ever watched an episode of Hoarders?  This is show that documents the struggles of people who compulsively hoard things in their home.  In these extreme cases, a person literally can not get from one room to the other without risking injury.  Sometimes the homes are condemned or people are getting sick or parents are in danger of losing their children to social services.  Or what about the show Freaky Eaters?  Have you seen that one?  The one episode I saw a part of last week was about a woman who literally ate nothing but French fries.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner.  She could barely choke down a carrot.  Now when I have watched these shows, I think I have usually said something to myself that was probably a direct quote from our Gospel reading for today:  “Thank God I am not like other people.”  (more…)

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The Gospel reading (Luke 18:9-14) is heard infrequently in Year C so I wanted to make the most of it at Grace of God!  So I wrote this hymn text.  We used the tune “Martyrdom” but it can also work with other common meter tunes. 

Into the hallowed temple courts

Two men went up to pray.

One raised his hands in prideful show

The other looked away.


“Thank God I’m not like other men!”

The prideful one proclaimed

Content with self he praised his works.

Yet sin and guilt remained.


The desperate one did not look up;

To God for mercy cried.

Though no one noticed him or cared,

He went home justified.


O God, who hears the sinner’s prayer

And calls us all your own,

Make us despair our righteousness

And trust in Christ alone.

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Mario Gomez was the oldest of the miners rescued this past week in Chili.  His wife of 30 years, Lily, wrote about her experiences during the last two months.  Before they knew the miners were alive, Lily wrote, “The authorities told us they were doing everything to search for the miners. They told us to go home but we were scared that if we did they would stop looking for them. We spent our days just waiting, waiting, waiting.”  I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be one of those trapped – waiting for a rescue.  But it was equally hard for those who loved them up above – to wait for news and wait for the day they could be reunited.

You’ve probably heard about the note attached to the drill that finally reached the trapped miners – the one that said, “We are fine in the shelter, the 33 of us.”  But another letter was also attached.  This one from Mario to his dear Lily. It read, “I don’t want to be apart from you – you are my life. I love you so much and I could not live without you. I’m sending a kiss, Mario.” (more…)

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One day, Jesus was invited to preach at the local synagogue in Nazareth.  At first, the hometowners were impressed with him.  And then he mentioned someone that put the congregation in a rage.  Naaman.  “Remember,” Jesus said, “that there were a lot of people in Israel during the time of Elisha who had leprosy.  But only one was healed – Naaman, the Syrian.”

With these words Jesus really stepped on some toes!  What made the people so angry was that Naaman was not an Isrealite.  He was a Gentile.  And to have Jesus hold him up as an example of healing and salvation made the Nazareth Israelites really mad.  They were so mad they tried to push Jesus off a cliff! (more…)

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The disciples, whom Jesus once addressed as “you of little faith” finally seem to have caught some fire in our Gospel for today!  They seem excited and energized and want to do more as Jesus’ disciples.  They appear to be in one of those moments where they are especially eager and enthused.  So they ask Jesus to increase their faith.  (more…)

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