Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 9, 2005
- Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 9, 2005
As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho
Press, here is a selection from our new book
of daily devotions, "Living as the Beloved:
One Day at a Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra
Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
meditation. We hope you will be blessed.
Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.
"Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's
eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own
"I don't understand what you mean," I asked, "Who are
The angry response came immediately. To this man,
just about everyone except himself was a "trash
person." One of his sons married a "trash person."
What made her "trash" in this man's opinion was her
skin color. "Trash people" included all the minimum
wage employees who cared for his aging mother, along
with gays and lesbians, and people from different
ethnic backgrounds. It sounded as if the only
non-trash person on the face of the earth was this
angry, embittered man. My heart felt sick as I
listened and felt deep grief for his children's
spouses. This angry man felt none of them were
good enough for his sons. His disapproval distanced
them from his life.
"Do you have any pictures of your grandchildren?" I
asked. He seemed surprised at this question and
stopped his tirade for the moment. "No," he replied
slowly, "I've never seen them. Their mother is
'trash.' Why would I want to spend time with her
and her children?"
The Psalmist writes, "When I look at your heavens,
the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that
you have established; what are human beings that you
are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?"
(Psalm 8:3-4). We are made in the divine image and
are not trash. We are fearfully and wonderfully made
in our human diversity. God is an artist, making
human beings with many beautiful skin colors with the
capacity to love deeply. God must be sorely grieved by
Madeleine L'Engle shares this insight about Jesus, the
storyteller. Jesus tells the story of a person who had
a huge plank of wood in his eye, yet did not hesitate a
moment to severely criticize another for having a wee bit
of dust in his eye (Matthew 7:1-5). The word Jesus used
was "hypocrite." L'Engle writes, "The parable is a true
story about our unwillingness to see our own enormous
faults, and our eagerness to point out much smaller
faults in other people." (L'Engle, Madeleine and Carole
F. Chase. "Glimpses of Grace: Daily Thoughts and
Reflections," p. 320.)
It is easy to see other people's prejudices and not our
own. I wonder what people see in me? I wonder what
hidden prejudices are deep within me? Where do I need
to have a new heart to see people with God's eyes? Søren
Kierkegaard (1813-1855), a famous Danish theologian,
clearly understood that while prayer did not change
God's unchangeable character and attributes, it could
transform the one praying with a new divinely inspired
perspective. (Bretall, Robert, editor. "A Kierkegaard
Anthology," p. 470.)
Months after my first encounter with the man who thought
of people as trash, I had the privilege of attending
church with him again. He had experienced a dramatic
moment with God and was truly reborn in his inner spirit.
My mouth dropped to the floor as I saw him embracing
people of color. I rejoiced at seeing him with his
daughter-in-law. His grandchildren delighted in their
new and wonderful relationship with their grandfather.
His son was profoundly grateful to have a relationship
with his father again. The son's mother joyously
shared with me that she had been praying for her
husband's attitudes for the past twenty-five years.
It was a moment of self-realization for me. Quite
honestly, I had not been actively praying for this
family. Fortunately God worked a miracle in spite
of my prayerlessness. Truly, God can change the
hardest of hearts. God is alive and well, still in
the miracle business of transforming lives. Prayer
changes things, beginning with the one who is praying.
Perhaps all of us can learn from my experience. Are
there people for whom you should and could be praying?
God, change the hardness of my own heart, before I so
eagerly pray for others to have a change of heart.
Help me see the planks of wood in my own eye, before
the perceived dust in the eyes of others. Let any
needed inner change begin with me. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
Please visit the Chi Rho Press Web site. You can order
using our convenient secure shopping cart and pay on line
using your credit card! http://www.ChiRhoPress.com
"Living as the Beloved" will make a wonderful Christmas
gift for your friends and family and is available for $20.95
each plus shipping and handling. Six or more copies are
$15.75 each plus shipping and handing. You can
find this book on our Web site at
Subscribe to the Chi Rho Connection, our free twice-
monthly electronic newsletter, and this Chi Rho
Reflection, the weekly meditation, by sending blank
e-mail to mailto:ChiRhoPressfirstname.lastname@example.org.
To unsubscribe, mailto:ChiRhoPressemail@example.com.