13 January 2007

Mark 2:17

Today's Gospel reading for the Common Worship lectionary seems "strangely" appropriate to a couple of conversations I've been having in blogsphere:
When Jesus heard this, he said to them, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick: I have come to call not the righteous but sinners. (NRSV)
It's simply a fact from God's perspective that we are all sinners, and we are all broken people. But God calls us into his service as broken people. He doesn't say "I have no use for you until you are whole and sinless"; we will not be whole and sinless until we are citizens of God's Kingdom. God uses us as sinful broken people - despite the fact that we are sinful and broken, if you want to put it that way.

It's easy to slip into thinking either that "I cannot be a minister for God until I'm practically perfect" (I use the word "minister" here with the view that all Christians are called to minister in God's world) or "I am ministering so I must be perfect/seen to be perfect." I think that both are traps that we can easily fall into.

Personally speaking, I think that there is no such thing as a "perfect" human minister who has never needed God's healing and God's forgiveness; if such a person did exist, I'd question their usefulness.


crystal said...

I think you're right. I once read an article by Michael J. Buckley SJ about how people with frailties are actually better at being priests than "perfect" ones ... link

Shawna Renee said...

I agree. I think many of my struggles and sins make me a better pastor.

Sally said...

well Pam you'd never guess that I agree would you???

PamBG said...

Sally - you agree??? ;-)

This post was also partly a reaction to reading another post where the minister in question seemed to feel that he had to have all the answers (that was my interpretation of his post) in order to be a "good" and a "strong" leader.

Anonymous said...

How does this post take into consideration what Jesus said as well "If you deny Me I will deny you before My Father in heaven." or "Be ye perfect even as My Father in heaven is perfect." and/or "Without Faith it is impossible to please God." and/or "Go and sin no more."? I'm not saying we should be perfect but that the pursuit of Holiness is still important when having a relationship with God. Faith in Christ alone, accepting of Christ as God and the pursuit of Holiness thereafter is so important and anything less. Sins don't make a person a better person. Repentance and turning away from sin makes a better person. We aren't perfect but the striving "I press toward the goal to win the prize..." is so important. dh

PamBG said...

Yes, of course it is important to grow in holiness.

I don't think we disagree here. You said We aren't perfect but the striving is so important.

And when we strive and fail, the Gospel is that God will forgive us.

None of my friends are willfully sinning. Quite a few of them are beating themselves up for not being perfect, though.

PamBG said...

I think that one of my previous posts is pertinent to the question of striving for holiness and seeing oneself as a sinner:

I am a Sinner (who has been forgiven)