Divine Calm: Amen!

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12.29.2005

Amen!

Waiter Rant is a funny and soulfully written blog that I recently started reading. Earlier today, I was surfing his archives and came upon this entry. Here's my favorite portion:


“Did I ever tell you about the time my godfather spoke at an anti abortion rally?” I ask.

“He was a priest wasn’t he?”

“Yeah.”

“What did he say?” Beth asks.

“Well, it was an ecumenical rally and people were really whipped into a fire and brimstone frenzy,” I say, remembering. “You know, these loose women are sinners, they’re going to hell, etcetera.”

“Man,” Beth breathes.

“So it’s my godfather’s turn to speak…………..”

…..and shuffling into the pulpit, resplendent in his Byzantine vestments, my godfather looks over the top of his glasses upon the congregation.

“I have heard many of you talking today about God’s punishment, His wrath. How you’re good Christians because you hate abortion. But, after listening to the people gathered here, I can’t help but notice that some of you harbor a vituperative attitude towards the very women you want to help.”

People start shifting in their seats uncomfortably.

“I know many of you, like me, are here because you want to defend the unborn. Some of you are motivated by the deepest conviction.”

Another pause.

“But some of you are here because you love to hate.”

Shocked silence.

“Are you here because you really want to help the unborn?” my godfather asks. “Have you taken an unwed mother into your home? Fed her? Cared for her baby? Or are you here because this is where your friends are? Are you here to indulge in a comforting sense of moral superiority? Smug in your certitude you’re not going to hell?”

Everyone is listening now.

“Let me tell you something about Hell,” my godfather says, “We know there’s a hell because Jesus said there’s one. But we don’t know if anyone’s actually in it.”

My godfather lets that thought sink in.

“What’s more,” he says, “Jesus never liked hypocrites. He once said, ‘They do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? No! Every thing they do is done to attract attention!’”

Now some of the congregants look angry.

“Let me ask you something. Are you relieving these women of their burdens? Or are you adding to them with your self righteousness? Are you helping or hurting? Because if all of your fervor is directed towards feeling good about yourself, if it’s about getting attention, if its about how you’re better than someone else - YOU ARE WASTING GOD’S TIME!”

A couple of people get up to leave. Undaunted my godfather continues.

“The Lord has never been welcome in the house of the righteous and the certain. Instead He walks amidst the damaged and the confused. To Him, the one that is lost is a treasure beyond price. Who are we to judge these women? They are precious treasure. Love, not hatred, is what they need.”

His words reverberate through the church. People are staring at the floor. Some shake their heads in disagreement. Others look thoughtful.

“Remember, the mercy of God is radical and boundless,” my godfather says, “And I thank God everyday that He is more merciful than you or I will ever be.”

My Godfather steps down from the pulpit. I don’t think he was invited back the next year. …..