Scripture provides us with many ways — or postures — for approaching God.
Like in yoga or ballet, we can practice these postures. Breathing, stretching, bowing, moving, reaching.
Open yourself up to embracing the many different postures that we find within Scripture.next >
Jesus told this parable to certain people who had convinced themselves that they were righteous and who looked on everyone else with disgust: “Two people went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself with these words, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like everyone else—crooks, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give a tenth of everything I receive.’”
Luke 18:9-12next >
Context is important in this story. In the first century, Pharisees and tax collectors were considered polar opposites and would rarely have been found in the temple together. While Pharisees were seen as very pure people who followed the laws of God strictly, tax collectors were viewed as unclean and utterly separate from God.
In this passage we see the posture of the Pharisee—one of pride and self-righteousness. Often, this way of approaching God is all too easy to relate to. We like to take stock of all the things we are doing right, all the ways that we are honoring God, and how much better we are than everyone else.
While being proud is not always bad, like the Pharisee, we must be careful. God is not moved by our good works or generous deeds. God loves unconditionally. We do not have to recount our practices back to God or to others to prove our worth. We should take pride in living as Christ because that is who we are called to be.
Katie Gilbertnext >
Forgive me when I let pride overrun my thoughts and emotions. Remind me, O God, that there is nothing I can do or say to make you love me any more. Amen.next >
Know that no matter what posture you come with today, you are loved.
Silent, proud, humble, exhausted, alone, fearful, in awe.
May you go out into the world practicing each of these postures and exploring the ways that they draw you ever closer to the God who created you and loves you.
Rev. Katie Gilbert currently serves as Director of Invitation and Outreach at First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, Alabama. She enjoys spending time with her husband Matt, her 17 month old daughter, Harper, and their crazy Boston Terrier, Lennon. They love to travel the world, eat good food, and spend time with family.
Reflections on the Way: O Rest in the Lord/All through the Night