Jack’s Winning words 7/11/16
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” (John Steinbeck in East of Eden) The Ten Commandments and The Sermon on the Mount seem to set impossible goals for us. When Jesus says, “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” how is that possible? Is Steinbeck suggesting something less? I don’t think so. The road to fulfilling the Law is a step by step process. Maybe I’m not perfect, but I’m trying, and I’ll keep on trying. ;-) Jack
FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL: i always interpreted Jesus comment about being perfect as a rebuke to the Pharisees for their blatant self-righteousness. in other words, Jesus is saying, you CAN"T ever be perfect, so quite trying and let me "perfect" your life. make sense? at least its one possible interpretation.====JACK: I hadn't thought of it in that way. Have you ever met up with some modern-day Pharisees?====SP: i think i have but thankfully not too many. i have always said that if i had to chose between self-righteous people and un-righteous people, i would always take the later of the two. and so did Jesus. btw, i think the jist of that whole text is this: Jesus raises the bar so high (you must be perfect as your H. Father is perfect) that the Pharisees are forced to ask: then who could be saved?? and Jesus responds as if to say: quit trying to save yourself, you fools (my addition), because you can't! only God can save. and then he adds, what is impossible for man is surely possible for God. its a great text intended to deflate all those who think they can save themselves by good works. it can't be done!
FROM HONEST JOHN: He must be a Lutheran....Grace is sufficient....no longer have anything to prove....go out and do your best...that is all that is now necessary====JACK: Steinbeck's family was Episcopalian, but he later became an agnostic. Isn't it interesting that the "non-believer" would be an advocate for the downtrodden (Grapes of Wrath). Maybe that's where he had a "Jesus" experience. "Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these..."
FROM FLORIGAN GARY: You're doing really well in my book!====JACK: Every day is a step...hopefully, a positive one.
FROM TARMART REV:
"Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long;
While there are others living about us,
Never molested, though in the wrong.
Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
====FROM JACK: Hey! That's one of my all-time favorites! The answers will come.
FROM MY LAWYER: I have a long way to go. But I'm trying too!!!====JACK: Close encounters, like the one you recently had, a reminders that we are not alone in this world.
FROM DR JUDY: Wise words today Jack! I love your daily Winning Words (even when I don't specifically comment).====JACK: Writing Winning Words is like preaching. Some days you hit the mark, and some days, you don't.
FROM BLAZING OAKS: Reminds me of a quote in O magazine from memoirist Augusten Burroughs: "I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions." Describes most of us, at least some of the time! Dr. Alice Walker wrote (Wall St. Journal) "You're far from a perfect creature. But as far as natural selection is concerned, you' ll do, and that's why you're here". Maybe we want to aspire to a little higher expectation than that, like "We're here to spread Christ's Love...." ?====JACK: When I entered the seminary I had to have a letter of recommendation from my pastor (Rev Tillberg). One of the questions asked of him was, "What is Jack's biggest fault?" I was told that he wrote, "Original Sin." He was a hero of mine.
FROM CHESTER THE GOOD: What IS perfect?====JACK: Look in a mirror!...not one of those carnival mirrors. You are made in the image of God.
FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I have just finished a week long jury trial. It was my first time serving and it was very very stressful. We reached a verdict but before I wrote it down officially I asked the other jurors if they would mind if I prayed. So, I did. It brought comfort to all of us! We were not perfect but we truly believed we rendered the correct decision....as did the judge in our after trial talk. God is with us in the small things and the big things...He's always good and merciful.====JACK: I think that it would be unusual for a juror to ask for prayer, as you did. I'm sure that some inwardly felt relieved that God was brought into the decision making process. Usually at Synod Assemblies there is prayer before important elections, especially before the election of a bishop. The prayer is very solemn, asking that God's will might be done. When the election results are announced, why should anyone be disappointed if their candidate loses?