by Bob Wickizer

Rev. Bob Wickizer
Jeremiah 14:[1-6] 7-10,19-22; Psalm 84:1-6; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14
28 October 2001

To be a real Christian, we must recognize God's grace at every moment of our lives and not just the big events, but also the everyday stuff. We must understand that God's grace creates the complex web of relationships and events that sustain us. As fallible humans however, we easily slide into one of three situations where we deny the reality and ever presence of God's grace. First, we may think that wherever we are in life, we did everything ourselves. Secondly we may think other people need God's grace more than we do. And lastly, we may think that we must do something to earn God's grace. Jesus refutes all three in the Gospel today. Let's take a closer look at these heresies.

A few years ago I attended some lectures given by an Episcopal missionary priest who had spent several years in Africa. I asked him what the most difficult transition was for him when he returned from working in rural African village churches to big city churches in the United States. Without hesitating he replied that although he and his family had become accustomed to living in the poverty of Africa, what he found most difficult on returning to the US was the constant wrangling in our churches over unimportant matters. He cited a now familiar litany of property maintenance issues, worship music, worship details, finance, Sunday School, kitchen use and on and on went the list. He told me that in an impoverished rural village, one quickly becomes radicalized to the Gospel of Jesus. He said that when you are living a very basic way of life the Gospel becomes quite clear and the commandment to love one another becomes a lot easier to put into practice.

The old priest told me a story of when he was describing life in the United States to the people of his village and a ten-year-old boy asked the question, "How can you know God when you have so much ...

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