Reflections: June 27, 2021
The Fourth Sunday after Trinity
By Harrison Goodman
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:36)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If you read it on its own like it's usually quoted, "Judge not lest ye be judged," is the only command that gets easier the less you care. The less you care about your neighbor, the less you care what they do. The less you care about God's Word, the less you care to talk about uncomfortable things like sin. It's the religion of today, but it's a lonely and bitter one. It can't cope with tragedy. It can't find the source of pain. It can't fix it. It can only lift itself up above someone else who broke its chief commandment. Thou shalt not judge.
There is a second like it: Thou shalt not be a hypocrite. It's catching, even among us. We bring God's Word to bear whenever we notice something our neighbor can't do, so we won't get accused of judging them. We bring it to bear whenever there's something we can't do either, so we don't get accused of being hypocrites. The only thing we're showing is that we care more about what our neighbor thinks of us than what they're going through. This leaves nothing to offer anyone in pain. It speaks only to sinners, but never to victims. It lacks mercy. And that's the whole point of this.
It begins with a promise. Your Father in heaven is merciful. You are of mercy now. Be merciful. It ends with a speck in your neighbor's eye. This is not a call not to ignore your neighbor in pain, but to help them, even if you have to confront your own sin and receive forgiveness for it first. Actually, that's a good plan either way. There is a log in my eye even as there is a speck in yours. The question is, should we leave it there and go on ignoring each other in pain, or should we talk about mercy? Don't worry about judging. Focus on mercy.
Mercy comes from only one place. Jesus gives real mercy. Not just empty words. He backs His by deed and truth. He gives it only to hypocrites who hope in something greater than themselves. It's bad to be a hypocrite, but Jesus saves sinners. He bears the damage sin does and names you forgiven. He calls your neighbor forgiven, too. The more you deal with your neighbor as someone for whom Jesus died, the more peace you find in seeing his sins forgiven. Start with Jesus. End there, too. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Lord, grant that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by Your governance that Your Church may joyfully serve You in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is the pastor of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in San Antonio, TX.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
Reflections: January 1, 2021This Just In: The Ultimate ResolutionReflections: January 2, 2021Reflections: January 3, 2021Reflections: January 4, 2021Video Short: January 5, 2021Video Short: January 4, 2021Reflections: January 5, 2021Reflections: January 6, 2021Video Short: January 6, 2021Under the Cross: Don't Look at the ListReflections: January 7, 2021Video Short: January 7, 2021Video Short: January 8, 2021Reflections: January 8, 2021Dean's List: The Catechism Really Is for YouReflections: January 9, 2021Reflections: January 10, 2021Reflections: January 11, 2021Video Short: January 11, 2021Helpful Things: Fundraising Essentials FOR YOUReflections: January 13, 2021Video Short: January 12, 2021Reflections: January 12, 2021Video Short: January 13, 2021Reflections: January 14, 2021Video Short: January 14, 2021Under the Cross: You Don't Belong to This WorldReflections: January 15, 2021Video Short: January 15, 2021Reflections: January 16, 2021Reflections: January 17, 2021Reflections: January 18, 2021Video Short: January 18, 2021This Just In: Martin Luther King, Jr.--The Man Who Had a DreamReflections: January 19, 2021Video Short: January 19, 2021Dead Christians You Should Know About: Saint SebastianReflections: January 20, 2021Video Short: January 20, 2021Video Short: January 21, 2021Reflections: January 21, 2021Reflections: January 22, 2021Reflections: January 23, 2021Video Short: January 22, 2021Dean's List: Jesus Hits the Spot!Reflections: January 24, 2021Reflections: January 25, 2021Reflections: January 26, 2021Video Short: The Conversion of St. PaulHelpful Things: Effective Fundraising Through Midweek MealsVideo Short: Suffering Doesn't Mean God Doesn't Love YouReflections: January 27, 2021Video Short: Woke Wednesday: Karma, Karma, KarmaVideo Short: Abortion and the Church's WorkReflections: January 28, 2021Reflections: January 29, 2021Video Short: What Goes On In Your Pastor's Mind About Closed CommunionFoundations: You Need Your Pastor More Than EverReflections: January 30, 2021Reflections: January 31, 2021
Reflections: February 1, 2021Video Short: Stretching Out To RepentVideo Short: Parable of Those Gifted in the VineyardReflections: February 2, 2021Dead Christians You Should Know About: Saint Blaise of SebasteSpeaking of Faith: The Liturgy Is Tried and True EvangelismReflections: February 3, 2021Video Short: Woke Wednesday De-platformingReflections: February 4, 2021Video Short: Hearing Law and GospelVideo Short: The Anti-Catholic ParadoxDean's List: Called to ServeReflections: February 5, 2021Reflections: February 6, 2021Reflections: February 7, 2021Reflections: February 8, 2021Video Short: Ears on the Sower... And the SeedReflections: February 9, 2021Helpful Things: Sex, Sexuality, and BaptismVideo Short: The Simple Definition of Faith That Will Rescue You From Your DoubtsReflections: February 10, 2021Video Short: Woke Wednesday: Wokeism and ChristianityVideo Short: What Your Pastor Thinks When Preaching the LawReflections: February 11, 2021Reflections: February 12, 2021Video Short: Valentines and LoveUnder the Cross: Valentine's Day StinksReflections: February 13, 2021Reflections: February 14, 2021Reflections: February 15, 2021Video Short: Lent is Almost HereVideo Short: Lent For Evangelical ChristiansReflections: February 16, 2021Welcome to Lent - Supplement to the ReflectionsVideo Short: How to Fast in LentReflections: February 17, 2021Reflections: February 18, 2021Video Short: Lutherans Aren't the Cult of LutherReflections: February 19, 2021