Love and Judgement

If you worship at a church that uses the Revised Common Lectionary, you will hear Matthew 25:31-46.  A parable of judgment, where everyone is either a sheep (saved) or a goat (damned).  A pastor who using the Narrative Lectionary laughed when he heard that was the RCL text for the week, and helpfully suggested a certain Cake song.  Excellent sermon preparation.

Where I think my sermon will go is more along the lines of the Frederick Buechner quote Bishop Jon included in his latest synod newsletter, highlighting his own favorite line:

“We are all of us judged every day.  We are judged by the face that looks back at us from the bathroom mirror. We are judged by the faces of the people we love and by the faces of our children and by our dreams. Each day finds us at the junction of many roads, and we are judged as much by the roads we have not taken as by the roads we have.

The New Testament proclaims that at some unforeseeable time in the future God will bring down the final curtain on history, and there will come a Day on which all our days and all other judgments upon us and all our judgments upon each other will themselves be judged. The judge will be Christ. In other words, the one who judges us most finally will be the one who loves us most fully.

Romantic love is blind to everything except what is lovable and lovely, but Christ’s love sees us with a terrible clarity and sees us whole. Christ so loves our joy that he is ruthless against everything in us that diminishes our joy. The worst sentence Love can pass is that we behold the suffering which Love has endured for our sake, and that is also our acquittal. The justice and mercy of the judge are ultimately one.”

The one who judges us most finally will be the one who loves us most fully.  Sounds like good news to me.

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4 Comments

Filed under Ministry Matters

4 responses to “Love and Judgement

  1. Oh, my what a song! Had I known about it earlier, I would have sung it with my Wed. Bible study group as we wrestled with our last week of “Cranky Matt” (as one of my colleagues calls him). Thanks, Maggie!

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  2. AT

    Maggie, thanks for posting this! One of my parishioners (a recently-retired Covenant pastor), paraphrased this Buechner quotation for me recently. I’d tried to look it up from his rendition, but failed. Now I might steal a page from your book and use it Sunday!

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    • Go for it! And you should do it by saying, “As my friend’s blog quoted her bishop’s enews quoting Frederick Buechner says . . .” Because that will just flow really nicely, I think.

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