Today’s Readings for the Daily Office
Psalm 97, 99,  (Morning)
Psalm 94,  (Evening)
2 Chronicles 29:1-3; 30:1(2-9) 10-27
I Corinthians 7:32-40
We Are All Bound Up In This Together
The evangelist in this morning’s gospel lesson from Matthew proclaims a word of warning to those who judge others. Matthew states clearly that there is a direct relationship between the judgment we pass on to others and the judgment we live under ourselves. “For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get” (7:2). Some days this is a sobering thought!
There is also a relationship between how clearly we see our own faults and flaws, and how accurately we are able to see the flaws and faults of our neighbors. “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?”(7:3). Until we are able to see ourselves clearly, honestly and, most importantly, gracefully, we will see our brothers and sisters in a kind of carnival mirror, which can exaggerate and distort their flaws in our eyes.
Matthew reminds us that our salvation is not a solitary affair between the individual and God. Our salvation is intimately linked with the lives of those we encounter on our journey of faith. As we meet people on a daily basis, the attitude we bring to each encounter is a window into the attitude we hold toward ourselves, and on a deeper level, the attitude we believe God holds toward us. We are all bound up in this together – me, you, all of us, and the Divine Mystery.
Matthew states clearly that if we are laboring under a wrathful, overly judgmental, and unforgiving god, this god is one of our own making, and not the God revealed in Jesus’ life and teaching. God is more loving, forgiving, and accepting than our tiny minds can imagine! “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”(7:11). God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness is a given, but whether we are able to receive it and live into it is the question our Gospel lesson places before us. You are a beloved child of God – it’s true . . . trust it . . . feel it . . . live it.
Written by Trent Palmer, a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Trent is a Realtor by profession and enjoys reading, music, camping, hiking, and boating. He grew up United Methodist and was a pastor in the United Methodist Church for 10 years. Trent was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 2008 at St. Margaret’s in Little Rock, and has been a member of St. Paul’s since he and his family moved to Fayetteville in 2013. Trent and his wife, Kristi, have three children, Elizabeth, Carter, and Katherine. Trent attends the 11:00 am worship service and enjoys being a Lay Eucharistic Minister and an EfM (Education for Ministry) Mentor.