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The Pharisee's Email – Br. Mark Brown

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Br. Mark BrownLuke 18:9-14

After the first publication of the Gospel of Luke, the Pharisee whose eavesdropped prayer has been held up to public ridicule for 2000 years submitted a revision, hoping it would make it into the next edition. Unfortunately the email of the poor, reviled wretch was lost in transmission and has been floating in the cloud of the imagination until now.  Here is the Pharisee’s recently discovered correspondence, which contains his amended prayer.

March 14, AD 65 or so

Dear Luke,

I was mortified to see my ridiculous prayer on full public display in your recent Gospel.  If at all possible, in the next edition, please substitute the following revision, which represents more mature consideration: 

God, I thank you that I am like other people, and that you have blessed me in countless ways.  All that I am, I lay at your feet. If I have not been a thief, it is probably because I have never been tempted by want. Thank you for the material blessings you have bestowed upon me. May I have compassion on those led to temptation by great need.  I fast twice a week.  May I have compassion on those who go hungry not by their own choice, and may I be more generous in giving to the hungry.

 I give a tenth of all my income because I can; may I have compassion on those who simply cannot afford to be so generous.  If I’ve been well-behaved otherwise and followed all the rules, it could well be because of my upbringing and the guidance of my youth. And I had good genetic material to begin with to figure things out, none of which I can take any credit for. Help me to be more compassionate and to understand the challenges and frailty of others.  

And, forgive me all my failings, especially the arrogance and grandiosity that lurk in my soul, and my tendency to judge others.  All that I am and am not, I lay at your feet.  God, me merciful to me, a sinner.

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1 Comment

  1. Sue Tidwell on March 21, 2015 at 06:47

    I need to listen to this often. It is powerful and so creative. Thank you.

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