This morning I went with a couple of others to the Cumberland Prayer Breakfast. We heard a guy sing Amazing Grace. It turns out he also sang it as a solo at Ronald Reagan’s funeral. Amazing grace is a song that will always make me think of Haiti as our mission team sang it standing on the foundation of a new church that was being built, and sang it in a church that we attended, but I digress. This morning we also heard former POW Jessica Lynch tell of her ordeal in the early 2000’s in Iraq. Fortunately I didn’t wear blue jeans as I normally would. I wore dress pants, a shirt and tie, and a sports coat making me look just as reputable as all the other people there. My suit disguised the fact that I do not feel comfortable in at places like that.
I would rather be at the homeless shelter. I like to think I’m more like the sinners at the shelter in their Pitt-Ohio sweatshirts (that were donated to the shelter) than the sinners in suits in the conference room at the Ramada.
Maybe it’s because when I’m with a bunch of religious people I am reminded that it was always the religious people that Jesus took issue with. It was the religious people whom He called hypocrites. It was the religious people He called a “brood of vipers”. He would never talked to the people at the homeless shelter like that. He would offer them forgiveness and send them on their way telling them to “fly straight”.
Sometimes I wonder if there are any other religious people sitting there in their dress clothes who want to confess that they’re not who they appear to be in front of all the other religious people. I wonder this morning if there was anyone else sitting there who would have rather been having breakfast at the shelter among people who readily admit their failures.
Or perhaps there is a chance that everyone else sitting there in their dress clothes felt like I did. If they did, maybe Jesus would not call us a brood of vipers after all.