The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

I’m sure it is a form of masochism that I read The British Lutheran after it’s gone to the print-ers. It always happens that afterwards I find a mistake or two … or more. (Aarrgghh!) It’s not that I don’t read it beforehand … many times. I also get the articles proof read – and that does pick up many errors. When I take it to the printers we run off an initial copy of each page so the printers know what it is supposed to look like and I even make minor corrections then – more in the formatting – because for some reason I see things differently on paper than on the screen. Occasionally even the printer spots something. So when I took the magazine in this time and found the fewest glitches ever, I was quietly pleased. Spoke too soon!

What got me – and I know you’ll now look and find it – was that of the errors I have subsequently found, the biggest was on the front cover! My vanity got me to correct the online version which people can download from the ELCE website. But there it is in print – a mis-take – I saw it and saw it and saw it – and I didn’t see it – until now.

We live in a world of effort – of success or failure. It’s important that we do. Work was given to humanity before our fall into sin. But a problem emerges when we use our effort and the judgements of success or failure for more than they are supposed to be. When we see our identity in terms of these things then we are setting ourselves up for pride or despair and for definitely comparing ourselves to others. It is easier then when we make mistakes to blame others. However a big part of the problems can be – and I think this can be particularly true in relationships and the problems and tensions that can emerge – that we don’t see them. Or we don’t see them clearly. We can be particularly blind to our own failings at times. And yes, it can be embarrassing and even shameful for us – and others – to see our mistakes, poor judgements, and bad behaviour (especially if we are defined by our behaviour, our effort).

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to do our best (whatever that might be) but that there are other ways of seeing ourselves and what we do. I recall an Olympic diver – I don’t remember who – when asked how he coped with the pressures and jitters before each dive replying that whether the dive was brilliant or lousy, his Mum still loved him! And in a similar way with sin, that we acknowledge our blindness to it and our need for help – from others – but especially from God’s Word. This isn’t the ‘downer’ that it appears – because God is already kind to us – he loves us – and brings us awareness and repentance because deep down, I think, we real-ise or come to realise that our sins and selfishness actually make our life miserable – as well as the lives of those around us. Yes, we can and do concentrate on the sins that we notice, that plague or trouble us, but that can help blind us to others that are also hurting us and oth-ers. So when it suddenly becomes visible – you see it – don’t despair but deal with it by be-ginning with the thought ‘God loves me, even me’ – that’s what Jesus’ death is all about. When he was on earth, he dwelt among sinners and since he is alive now, what a comfort that Jesus hasn’t changed … he still dwells with sinners!  — GS