Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WHO FAILED? - CROSS PURPOSES 121

I can’t remember if I’ve told this story before – if I have, forgive me. If I haven’t, enjoy!

My first parish was by ‘assignment’ rather than will. It was in South Oz. one day a member bailed me up for a conversation and it was obvious he was distressed. The son of one of his relatives had been denied confirmation by his Pastor.

“How come?” I asked. It turned out that the boy was disabled slightly and was what we would have called a slow learner. He faithfully attended lessons for the full 18 months but he simply could not pass the ‘test’ set by the Pastor. So he was refused the opportunity to ‘confirm his faith’ and his parents were told he’d have to repeat lessons with the next class.

It took me all of 2 seconds to process that information and then I winced. The boy, (and his family, and his congregation) were being given a lesson the Pastor probably never intended. And what was it? Worthiness to come forward, kneel at the edge of the holy sanctuary, and receive Holy Communion, was determined by whether or not you were clever enough, or together enough, to pass an academic exam! Worthiness was about IQ and not faith given by Christ’s Spirit! The lad didn’t fail confirmation. The pastor failed his Lord, his people, and his call!

Churches and Christians and their representatives are more than capable of sending false messages like that. “Worthiness” is on the basis of achievement or behaviour? False! False! False! Worthiness is given by God himself when he causes us to love and trust Jesus Christ in all things and above all things. Jesus’ resumé (cv) becomes ours. Faith receives HIS worthiness.

Somewhere or other there’s a quote from Old Martin that goes something like this.
“I don’t go to the sacrament because I am worthy; rather I go to the sacrament to be made worthy.”

Let’s resolve to send ‘Jesus Christ’ messages in all we say and do.

Love you

Fred

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