Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 13 March 2022

 Do you remember those church signs which read “All Welcome”? They were bland, inoffensive, conveyed no real message because everyone knew that the churches which displayed them didn’t mean it. All welcome except … and the list of unspoken exceptions could be pretty long.

The best sign I’ve seen was on an Anglican church on Dandenong Road in Melbourne. “Hypocrites meet here at 10am on Sunday”. Now that’s more like it. Disarming, because it takes away the force of one charge which unchurched folk make about us. At least we’re admitting it. And we’re admitting that it’s almost impossible not to display at least some hypocrisy, because we preach a life of holiness which is beyond most of us. Holding up high moral, ethical, and social standards is very difficult, because if one falls short of being a perfect example, one becomes a target and a hypocrite, albeit a well-meaning one.

So much for a charge from outside the church, that we’re hypocrites. Jesus had to contend with attacks from within the religious establishment, “This man eats and drinks with sinners!” Much about Jesus’ human character is unattainable to us, to me certainly. But there’s one badge which I wear proudly with Him. Because if He hadn’t eaten and drunk with sinners, He wouldn’t have eaten and drunk with me.

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