“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” – Matthew 23: 23-24
Woe to you, lawmakers. You seek easy answers to hard problems and produce sound bites which trivialize our turmoil, placing blame and responsibility on anyone but yourselves.
Woe to you, self-righteous do-gooders, who make a show of what you give, who see money as the way to buy righteousness and avoid relationship.
Woe to you, silent watchers, who love to complain and lift not a finger to correct.
Woe to you, televangelists and false prophets. You prey on the vulnerabilities of people who need God, offering them yourselves instead, and at a high price.
Woe to you, vain mirror-dwellers, who place all value in appearance and outward style and fail to reflect any inward substance, having none to offer.
Woe to you, spewers of religious fervor – all froth and uproar – and with no promise of peace, for peace belongs to the prince you do not serve.
and, that said,
Woe to me, filled with shiny plans and golden schemes, I leave undone the humble work before me. Too easily, I drop a project when it first is marred by my inevitable mistakes, not willing to recognize those failings as innate to me. So, dreams prevail but do not accomplish good for anyone but the dreamer.
To long for perfection on my own, to think that it is possible within myself to be perfect, is to usurp the place of God.
Woe to me. My particular risks and temptations are my own, sculpted from the clay I have wrested from God’s hands. I make a false self in a fancied image of goodness, as do all the woeful souls that shout and thrash around me.
Teach me to release myself, flawed and loved, into your hands.
Teach me that all other souls are there, beside me, held in those same loving hands.
[image edited from photo by M.V. Jantzen per cc 2.0]