Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"Two men went up to the temple..."

"Two men went up to the temple to pray. The first was a Pharisee, and the second a publican. And the publican stood up and prayed like this: O God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are: two-faced, holier-than-thou, proud, arrogant, self-righteous, or even as this Pharisee. And the Pharisee would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat upon his breast and said: Lord, have mercy on me, a hypocrite."

-N. T. Wright, Small Faith—Great God, 1978. H/T Alastair.

4 comments:

Joshua said...

a great quote!

Justin said...

Interesting how in our the Tax-Collector has won the day. We live in a new age...

byron said...

Yes, perhaps partially due to Christianity (other factors too - e.g. existentialist notions of authenticity), one of the worst sins (after intolerance perhaps, and even linked to it?) is hypocrisy.

Still, a retelling to help us feel something of the 'sting' of the original. It reminded me a little of a skit I saw once which was a retelling of the parable of the prodigal son. It ended with the son returning to the father and making his speech ('I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am not worthy to be a son, treat me like a servant.'), and the father replying along the lines of: 'Too right you did. Get lost - I never want to see you again!' We can get so used to grace that it is no longer a shock.

John Dekker said...

Yeah, it's a great re-telling!