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Good Church Folks

Amy Oden

Church of the Resurrection Insights Blog

Luke 7:36-50

Jesus can be pretty rough on us good church folks, the contemporary equivalent of a Pharisee (more or less) in Jesus' day. Rarely is the good church-going person the hero of Jesus’ stories. Always trying to be right, always trying to be good, too often trying to figure out who’s wrong and who’s right, one-upping everyone.

In this story, Simon is a Pharisee, a faithful synagogue-attender and scripture-follower. He’s eager to show he is good by pointing out the sinner in the room. Jesus is having none of it. Over and over in the gospels, Jesus challenges the good, church-going folks to re-think what is “good.” He reframes the whole scene away from the metrics of goodness to the metrics of grace. “Which of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:42)

Of course, the metrics of grace aren’t really metrics at all. Grace is the overflow of abundant life, poured out over all creation. The unnamed “woman from the city” in this story knew the grace that poured over her life. Simon did not.

This is all too familiar today. We good church folks – across the theological spectrum – can be eager to point fingers, put smug slogans on church marquees and preen in our rightness. One-upmanship abounds. And it squanders the gospel.

Jesus’ words pierce me, bring me to my knees in conviction. Jesus shakes me loose from my striving to be good. He offers a path of less striving and more simple loving, to let that grace pour over my life, filling to overflow. My prayer today is that Jesus frees me from the idol of being right. May I follow Jesus onto the path of love.


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