Monday, December 6, 2010

Thursday in Advent 1

1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

v. 13 And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

The notion that I might have to be blameless when Jesus comes, or when I stand before God s judgment, scares the hell out of me. I don t think, by my own strength, that it s going to happen. be blameless, that is. And I ve only met a handful of people in my life who I thought stood a chance of actually doing it. In the past this led to notions that one had to die shriven, having made a last confession. To die unshriven meant either eternal torment in hell or a very long time in purgatory getting cleaned up.

Of course, the reality is that we cannot make ourselves blameless. Perfection is not something that human beings can do, and when they try they often end up doing damage to themselves or others. I take as my icon of the final judgment the parable in Luke that we heard a few weeks ago of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man, who believes he is blameless before God is not justified, Jesus says. Lazarus, who knows he is not blameless and probably never will be, is.

If meeting God face to face means being reminded of all the ways I have fallen short I hope only that I remember the one thing I need to do, and it isn t try to explain myself or pretend that I was better than I was. What I need to do is point to Jesus, who will be there. He is my only hope. In relationship with him I am blameless and will be received as a beloved child come home.

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