Does It Really Matter?

Does It Really Matter?

30 But on the next day, desiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.

23 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”

Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” 10 And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks.

11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”

We human beings tear each other up. We expect answers, our answers, or our “tribe’s answers and every one else is wrong. Our answers come as we go deep into ourselves, and ask ourselves the question: “What am I afraid of?”, and when we face that we move out and know all of us are afraid, and can walk together as family.

The Reverend Audrey Miskelley gives a good summary of this Scripture in its contemporary context:

Broken

“Do we know when something is broken? Do we know when someone is broken? Do we know when we are broken?

In our church language we speak about “this broken world” that we live in. It’s not hard to see the brokenness. It’s probably harder to agree on what is broken and what is not broken. It’s probably near impossible to agree on how to “fix” what’s broken.

I often find myself “sighing heavily” when I listen to folks who are talking about the many problems that we face; as a nation, a city, a church and they don’t seem to be able to get out of the “who’s at fault” stage of the conversation. I don’t argue that knowing how something broke is important information and knowledge, but, seems to me this line of conversation isn’t about looking for possible answers; it’s about looking for possible targets.

I am reminded of my childhood when I was pretty sure that I’d be the first one (of six) to loudly proclaim that “it wasn’t me,” it was never me, and always one of my brothers! And then as a parent myself, to work at looking past “who did it” to the more helpful conversation about making better choices and the consequences – usually unintended – of actions. I continue to learn as I go and hope that so do my kids and my grandkids too.

I cannot fix what is broken in the world, or in another human being, but I can be mindful of how I act and react. I believe to my very core that if each person in the world focused more attention on how they are, and how what they do affects those around them, we’d be less broken. I believe that more people than not do not make choices to purposefully hurt another person but rather make choices without any thought as to how those around them are going to be affected by that decision.

I believe that we often, sadly, act solely in our own “best interest” and give no thought to the poor person standing next to us, much less someone farther away.

I believe that our brokenness is related to our selfishness.

In a world that is all too willing to dismiss entire populations of people because they are…name your category – our brokenness will unfortunately continue to increase.

I wonder, do you recognize what is broken in you?

I wonder, in those intimate conversations that we each have with God, do we ask for guidance to help us in our brokenness?

One of my favorite prayers: Help me gracious God, a sinner. Amen.
Peace,”

Audrey+

Interim Rector, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, San Francisco, CA 94109

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Sims, D.Min.

www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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