Prayer: God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen
Reading: Luke 18: 9-14 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
It is much easier for me to imagine a praying murderer, a praying prostitute, than a vain person praying. Nothing is so at odds with prayer as vanity. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1928
Bonhoeffer wrote these words after attending high mass at Sacre Coeur in the Montmartre district of Paris. Surrounded by those of a different and difficult walk of life, he reflected, "...once again one could see how quite clearly how close, through their fate and guilt, these most heavily burdened people are to the heart of the Gospel."
Bonhoeffer's observations go along with the point Jesus was making in the Parable of the Rich Man and the Tax Collector. He told this parable to those who looked down on everybody and prayed in a proud way. But it was the tax collector who prayed a humble prayer who went home justified by God. It reminds me of a song we sing a song at camp, "Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord...and He shall lift you up, higher and higher." --Ruth Gates
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