Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 9, 2011
- Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 9, 2011
As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
here is a selection from our book of daily devotions,
"Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the
Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.
Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
meditation. We hope you will be blessed.
Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.
Jesus asked, "Why do you see the speck in your
neighbours eye, but do not notice the log in
your own eye?"
"I don't understand what you mean," I asked,
"Who are 'trash people?'"
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,"
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
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