Into the Reign of God
Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the Reign of God ahead of you.
Truly I tell you the illegal immigrants and the refugees are going into the Reign of God ahead of you. Truly I tell you the drug addicts and the petty thieves are going into the Reign of God ahead of you. Truly I tell you the murderers, the cheaters, the gamblers, even the folks who voted for that candidate you despise, are going into the Reign of God ahead of you.
Jesus challenges, not all his fellow Jews, but those who believe that their involvement in the community of the Chosen by itself endears them to God, without attention to God’s ongoing request to love their neighbor. We, too, tend to sit in pews and sing our hymns and do our worship, and judge all those who are not among us, who are not, in our view, doing all the right things. Even though Jesus told us explicitly not to judge, told us explicitly that he came so that all might have abundant life. Even though he told us that the most important thing is love.
Yes, the prostitute, the drug abuser, the illegal immigrant doing the will of God will be in line in front of those of us who sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” but rarely move ourselves to love our neighbor as deeply as we could. Let our love increase.
Saving God, lead me to be more fully the person you call me to be. Help me not to judge others, not to react to what I see on the outside, and instead to love everyone you place in my way. Amen.
Rev. Julie Holm is the pastor of the Brush Valley Fusion of Faith, three UCC and ELCA churches in rural central Pennsylvania.
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