On the way into work yesterday after lunch, I slipped and fell on a slick rug outside our door. Who puts a rug outside a hospital door in the rain? It’s always there, but yesterday afternoon it was as – if you’ll pardon the nasty expression – slick as snot. My foot slipped out from under me and I landed right on the side of my knee. The knee is a wonderful piece of machinery. It’s elegant in its construction, but it is not really designed to absorb the impact of a fall. That’s what backsides are for (which is what I landed on next). There was no real damage done (except to my slacks – very dirty rug). I have a small knot on the side of my elegantly constructed knee which only hurts when I push on it (yes, I know, don’t push on it).
Don’t get too impatient. I’m telling you that story for a reason, which will soon be revealed.
This morning I listened to a sermon on the way into work by a minister who attends our church. When our two ministers are attending the WV Annual Conference, David often preaches. He’s from Georgia, and isn’t a member of the conference here. I missed his sermon this year because we were on vacation. Listening to it on CD has been on my “list” of things to do, so I did that this morning.
He started off with a litany of the people and things we hate. The list was long – liberals, conservatives, fundamentalists, homosexuals, immigrants, Yankees, that high school over there, youth worship, praise worship – I really don’t think anyone was excluded from this “I hate … “ list. It was, of course, an illustration of how ridiculous we are, and how stereotypical our viewpoints can be. It was a sermon about how we pay “lip service” to being a Christian, while ignoring what it is to really BE a Christian (my words, not David’s, and I’m sure I’m murdering his sermon by summing it up).
I was feeling pretty good. I mean, it was a warning to be careful not to hate – not to judge people or to say we are Christians while ignoring the command to love our neighbor as ourselves. Really, though, I already try to be careful about that. I caught myself hoping that so-and-so in the congregation was listening, because he/she really needed to hear what David was saying.
I would have been happy if he had stopped there, but he didn’t.
What does the Lord require of us – “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8). David then went on to list all the things he does in the church – and the list was long. Really long. His point was that all of that – all that he does in the church – is not what is required of us.
Do I act justly? Do I love mercy? Do I walk humbly with my God?
Walk humbly? It came to me this morning that my walk is anything but humble. I think God used David this morning to tell me that my problem isn’t hate, it’s pride.
My husband just called and asked if I fell again this morning. I almost answered yes. I did fall this morning. I slipped on the word of God and landed on one of my most elegantly designed sins – my pride. And it hurt. It hurt the most, I think, because as I feel that I am getting closer to God, He took an opportunity to tell me what I was doing wrong.
If David hadn’t mentioned those Lenten Prayer crosses, it might not have gotten so personal.