The Reverend Jenny Shultz-Thomas
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Anytime you draw a line between who’s “in” and who’s “out,” this parable asserts, you will find God on the other side. So often in human history, we have marked progress by the advancement of the majority. Unfortunately, as the majority forges ahead, self-righteously, the real kin-dom of God is left behind, along with our souls. There is a real opportunity for soul-searching in Jesus’ words, and at this time in human history, perhaps the beating of our collective, sinful and privileged chest, is in order?