by Maria Evans
Our Epistle and our Gospel reading today dovetail nicely on a very important theme: We will make mistakes. We will stumble. There’s nothing like an election to remind us about what we are hearing in James today, is there? Yes, without a doubt the most human part of human anatomy is the untamable tongue. At best, we can merely put a bit on it or stick a rudder behind it and at least turn it in the correct direction. If everything that’s been said in these days before and after the election were boats, I suspect that the corresponding photograph would look like the New York City harbor, where it’s a miracle none of those boats all crash into each other–and the reality is, some do.
If you’re like me today, you’ve probably caught yourself reacting or responding to someone on social media, or in person, that you looked at the next day and said, “This isn’t me.” I suspect many of us have truly tried–holding off to say something, or typing and re-typing a response, trying to be careful, and have it backfire anyway. I also suspect many of us have kept our mouth shut when perhaps we should have tried to say something in a loving way, and in our silence we still ended up appearing to be a horse who has figured out how to pull against the bit, looking belligerent and headstrong, putting fear in the rider that the horse will go where he pleases.
Take heart. You are not alone.
Our reading in Luke reminds us that when we make mistakes they are not pretty, but better we fall on our own noses than cause someone else to stumble, and it was better to have tried than to have done nothing. Luke goes on to talk about the power of forgiveness of others, and at the same time reminds us of the power of faith–faith in a God who can make perfect sense of what the human mind cannot, and what the human tongue prevents us from doing time and time again.
You are going to stumble.
So am I.
How can we put our hands out in these next few days to help one another up?
Maria Evans, a surgical pathologist from Kirksville, MO, is a grateful member of Trinity Episcopal Church and a postulant to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. You can also share her journey on her blog, Chapologist.