“God, Be Merciful” … An Updated Parable for the Election Season




Adapted from Luke 18:9-14

And he told this parable to those who trusted in themselves and despised others.



Two politicians went up to the national cathedral to pray. The Republican stood in front of the church on the right and the Democrat on the left.

And the Republican lifted up his eyes to heaven and he prayed: “I thank thee, O Lord, that I am not like this Democrat. I am Pro Family and Pro Gun Rights. I oppose Obamacare and handouts to slackers. I am against big government and support tax cuts for job creators. O Lord, put the fear of these left-wing liberals into my constituency so that they will re-elect me to congress.” 

And the Democrat likewise lifted up her eyes to heaven and prayed: “I thank thee, O Lord, that I am not like this Republican. I am Pro Equality and Pro Gun Control. I support the Affordable Care Act and a safety net for the poor.  I stand with the 99% and believe that the 1% should not grow wealthy at the expense of the rest of the country.  Put the fear of these ultra-conservatives into my constituency so that they will re-elect me to congress.”

And lo, a third person, a citizen, entered the cathedral and stood in the center aisle. He looked at the Republican, he looked at the Democrat, and he lifted his eyes to heaven and prayed: “I thank thee, O Lord, that I am not like these self-serving politicians who care only for their own power. They are so disgusting that I refuse to vote for either of them or take part in the political process of my country. But at least I’m not like them and for that I am thankful.”

And after their prayers, each left the cathedral, each justified in their own eyes. The Republican was convinced he was superior to the Democrat, the Democrat to the Republican and the citizen that he was superior to both of them. But none of them were justified in God’s sight. For to receive God’s blessing they needed to stand in the back of the cathedral, join hands with one another and pray, “God be merciful to us and help us to show mercy to each other, for we are all sinners.”

© January 29, 2016 by Rev. Michael A. Weber.
For permission to reprint please contact the author at
msnrweber@verizon.net

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