Sunday, February 05, 2006


This morning, before the sermon started, I jotted down a couple of things in my notebook under the heading of "What I Want." Don't look so shocked -- you want things, too! Jesus knows and doesn't disapprove.
When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
(from Luke 14)

See, Jesus doesn't say, "Don't want that; it's not holy." He assumes -- rather, he knows that we want to be honored and wants to help us get it.

Back to what I want. I think you want it too. The first thing I wrote is for my joy to be complete. As I wrote yesterday, Jesus ties "full joy" to our connection with him. The other thing I want is to know I've done well. What came to my mind was this prayer: "that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work" &c.

Pretty soon the sermon started, and the point of it was Confession, which I guess means telling the truth about my own failings and folly and foul-ups. He made the point that "sin keeps us from abiding in Jesus." We don't use that word "abide" much any more, but the idea is that it's hard to stay connected to Jesus if we aren't willing to 'fess up to our failures. To God at least, but also to each other. He quoted someone (was it Bonhoffer?) who said that "he who is alone with his sin is alone indeed."

So I am going to confess something here that will not shock anyone, and it's probably obvious, but it's probably important to say it.

OK, here it is.

Sometimes the lovely Carol and I have arguments. Tony, that night you saw me in Kepler's and asked me if everything was OK -- you could probably tell I was unhappy about something, but I didn't want to say what it was. I'll tell you now: we were in the middle of a disagreement. OK, an argument (I won't call it an "enthusiastically aggressive discussion"). We are working things out and we are committed to making them work.

What's the problem? Basically, that neither of us is perfect. Also, though I'm somewhat resigned to the fact that I'll never be perfect on this earth, I wish I were a little wiser and stronger than I actually am.

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