Summary: This is a funeral message for a family with differing memories of the contribution of the deceased to their lives. Deals with anger, feelings and memories.
September 25, 2002
Luke 18: 9-14
I did not know_____________. Oh I had met a man by that name but I am sure that none of you would really call the man I met less than a year ago the __________of most of your memories. Many of your memories of _______________are perhaps pictures of a robust young man…perhaps. Perhaps your memories of ____________are of a man who worked hard and provided a living for his family or families…perhaps. Perhaps your picture of _________________is not so gracious as either of these…perhaps.
I know how I feel about the ______________that I was introduced to less than a year ago. And, perhaps we do not share similar feelings about _________________.Perhaps you feel anger because ______________was not all you wanted and less than you expected…perhaps. Perhaps you are feeling guilty because of that anger or because you don’t feel you did enough for ________________ or others that surrounded his life and his dying…perhaps. Perhaps you feel sadness at the loss of a man with whom you had unfinished business…perhaps.
Memories and feelings are interesting things. Two people see the same traffic accident. One says that the car that was involved in the hit and run was a small white car. Witness number two says that the vehicle was a full sized Navy Blue car. Which one is right? They both saw the same accident.
Two people are raised in the same house, under the same rules, by the same person or persons. One person feels anger at a particular set of circumstances and never understands why. While person number 2 accepts that stuff happens and sometimes we get double stuffed in this world and never even asks why and just somehow understands. Which person’s feelings are appropriate? Well perhaps they both are. And perhaps it is OK and natural to be both angry and happy at the same time. Perhaps it is OK and natural to remember the good, the bad, even the ugly at the same time…perhaps.
In the scripture passage that I have chosen for today we see just such a disparity in thought and feeling. One person approaches a holy, righteous, just and merciful God and is driven to examine himself. And, in that examination he finds himself wanting. He finds himself insufficient. The other person approaches the same place of worship. He approaches the same holy, righteous, just and merciful God and upon examination he too finds the first person wanting. He too finds the first person insufficient. They are both right in their assessment of the first guy.
However the rub, as far as scripture is concerned is that the lesson that Jesus teaches in this parable is that in all areas of life we are first and for most called to examine self in regards to sin. To look inwards at what we have done, why we have done it and ask the question, “Am I right before this holy, righteous, just and merciful God.” The other lesson in this passage is that when we look at the mistakes, the short comings and the mistakes of others regardless of how grievous, we are the ones who are damaged in the process. With our eyes on others we never become whole.