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More Doing, Less Judging

More Doing, Less Judging

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 – Proper 28, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 101, 109:1-4(5-19)20-30 (morning) // 119:121-144 (evening)

Malachi 1:1, 6-14

James 3:13-4:12

Luke 17:11-19

Our second reading this morning from the letter of James presents us with an interesting dilemma. It seems as though we can’t be both a law-abiding citizen and a judge simultaneously. According to this passage, if we judge others, then “you are not a doer of the law but a judge.” We have to choose whether we will follow the law revealed through Christ, or whether we will assume the role of judge. We can’t do both.

But there is no room on the judicial bench for both us and God: “There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor?” It seems as though we can play only one part in this universe, either “doer of the law” or “judge,” and the part of judge is already taken.

Even when we seek justice or exercise our faculties of wisdom, we are not acting as judges in the sense of this passage. The judge is the one with the capacity “to save and to destroy.” When we offer mercy, strive for justice, or love others, we should not take upon ourselves the burden of trying to save or destroy anyone else. The tasks of mercy, justice, and love will keep us plenty busy today, and every day.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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