Prayer: Let us learn, O God, of your mighty works and your mercy through your Word, so we can tell others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost
‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ (v. 13)
It is not unusual for people to make judgments about people on the street, or driving by in the junky old car. What about the panhandler on the street corner? Imagine in worship and one of these sitting in the next pew during confession. Don’t we tend to think like the Pharisee in today’s text?
Our devotion writer suggests; “The world is captivated by measuring success in terms of appearance, awards, and financial status. Some who do well in life by these measures have a sense that they have features and skill sets that make them better than their contemporaries.” In other words, they have gifts and talents rewarded by wealth which makes them better than everyone else. Well that is not God’s way. God prefers those who acknowledge that they are sinners and repent. Being humble and penitent is not a lower position. In God’s eyes, it is the noblest!
Prayer: “Merciful God, help us to live humbly as your children, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”