Greetings St. John’s Lutheran Church!
Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.” –Luke 18:9-14
My home congregation coordinated mission trips for the youth each summer. To encourage the young people in their service, each youth participant was assigned a prayer partner. This prayer partner would write a letter of support to be read during the trip and would pledge to pray for the young person throughout his or her week of service. The practice sought to build a relationship between two people separated by distance but connected by Christ through prayer.
A Pharisee, A Tax Collector
The Pharisee and tax collector pray together in the same space, but they are not prayer partners. The Pharisee is consumed with disdain for the tax collector and gives thanks that he is not like him. The tax collector is consumed with guilt for himself and prays for God’s mercy. Their prayers to God do not bring them together in community but only reveal their alienation from one another.
A Saint, A Sinner
We will hear this scripture on Reformation Sunday, a day of celebrating the history of our church and of creatively imagining its future. As Lutherans, we understand ourselves to be both saint and sinner – imperfect yet called by God. This understanding keeps us humble and seeks to breed compassion as we relate to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Prayers of the Church
I pray that as our congregation navigates challenges and seeks to take advantage of opportunities that we will continue to pray for one another with compassion, knowing that we are each a saint and a sinner – imperfect yet called by God to do God’s work in the world.
In Christ, Pastor Kat