Doing all the right things doesn't mean squat if you treat your fellow human being with contempt. We all need to remember that most of us think we're doing the right thing, and want to do the right thing, even when we're not.
This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it. The sermon notes which are included for convenience.
Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley.
October 23 - 23st Sunday after Pentecost
"Humbling and exalted". Text is from Luke 18:9-14
Good morning to you my sisters and brothers, saints and sinners, disciples of Christ and children of God.
A Pharisee and a tax collector walk into a temple.
Stop me if you've heard this one.
Both of these men are coming before God with their own idea of what they want to receive from the experience.
Now when you think about it, the temple is quite a daunting place and it can be such for anyone coming forward who does not feel that they are in a right place with God. But the Pharisee has been here many times and is certain of himself. He follows what he's been taught to follow, God's law, by the letter, or so he believes himself. And he's doing what he thinks is the right thing to do, thanking God for the gifts that he has given him... and that he is not like all those sinners that he lists off, thieves, rogues, adulterers, and even that tax collector over there that came in when he came in here.