THE GOOD LIFE
There are those in society who assume that they represent what normal, descent people should strive to be like. They make a decent living, support their family, and are kind to others. They have never been arrested, let alone convicted of any wrongdoing. They trust society offers a descent framework for hardworking people to prosper.
ENTER TO PRAY
Two people stop by a church to pray. One is an upstanding Caucasian businessman and the other is an African American laborer with a criminal record. Both enter the church by the same door. The businessman makes a show of opening the door for the laborer and feeling spiritually affirmed by his courteous act.
He then marches to the front of the sanctuary and kneels on the cushion at the communion rail. He prays, “God thank you for rewarding my hard work and ethical behavior with a good salary and many benefits for my family. I am grateful that I have never cheated in a business deal, been unfaithful to my wife, or taken advantage of our government system like some of the riffraff of our society. I am faithful in my attendance at worship, except when I’m on vacation or traveling on business; I am generous in my charitable giving to causes that show good business practices; and I am kind to my wife’s elderly parents.”
DO I BELONG?
The laborer hesitates to enter the sanctuary but finally occupies a seat in a darkened rear corner. He feels uncomfortable making use of the prayer book or the hymnals in the rack, but in halting English mumbles, “I’m sorry.”
The businessman, making the sign of the cross, rises and marches up the aisle. He smiles benignly when he sees the laborer huddled in the corner and congratulates himself for having made a contribution to support a church that is open to everyone.
I tell you the laborer felt a warm cloud of forgiveness sweep over him and enough energy to face another day. He couldn’t explain it to you, but he knows what resurrection is like.