“‘Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.’” vs. 31
Jesus wants his followers to know that the kingdom of God is full of surprises, and that sometimes outsiders have a better grasp of the gospel than insiders. That same truth is regularly played out in our own search to understand the mysteries of the kingdom. Just because a person has been baptized, confirmed, and married in the church doesn’t guarantee that they are even close to “getting it.” In fact all too often church involvement can degenerate into a kind of “pro forma” adherence to accepted standards of behavior. People can learn the traditions and the social customs that typify the “ingroup” and pay lip service to creeds and sacraments and still not have a clue about the joy of grace and the glory of unconditional love. But some do understand! These are the undocumented folks who don’t have the right credentials and who have regularly wandered from the path of righteousness. They might even wonder if they have any right to be in worship…their sense of unworthiness is deep and profound. But they do know what love sounds like…and they appreciate the cleansing power of forgiveness. And the angels rejoice when they wander home!
Thought for the Day: When have I felt like an outsider at worship?