A REPENTANT PHARISEE LOOKS BACK
(Luke 18: 9-14)
You can stand by a river, admire its freshness,
yet never dip foot in the stream.
You can come to the temple with prayer high-sounding,
yet be untouched by all it might mean.
You can stand in the light, blink your eyes in the dazzle,
yet never feel its warmth on your skin.
You can open your purse, give a tenth of your treasure,
yet never feel mercy within.
You can fast twice a week and yet still go hungry
for a taste of God’s life-giving grace.
You can live by the law, apply all the rules, yet
miss the love that fills all time and space.
Though proudly I lived, and sternly I judged,
there is something I’ve late come to learn:
and that is that I, too, am among those in need
of the mercy that cannot be earned.
I realize, now, how wrong I was in my judging
of the tax collector offering his prayer.
And now I give thanks that all are included
in God’s acceptance, forgiveness, and care.
Copyright ©2016 by Andrew King