Dana Carvey portraying, “The Church Lady,” on Saturday Night Live in the 1980s and 1990s.
Bible Readings and Devotion for September 9, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for September 9, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
About 30 years ago on Saturday Night Live there was a recurring skit character called The Church Lady. This character, portrayed by comedian Dana Carvey, presented a negative stereotype of hypercritical Christians. Carvey’s character would criticize people, whether present or not. The Church Lady would regularly accuse people of being or working for Satan. All of this was for comedy and satire. With satire there is always the possibility that some of what is being said is very close to the truth.
One thing which has been a struggle for Christians for millennia is that we have fallen into the trap of pointing out the sin of others. In this, we often totally avoid addressing our own sinfulness. You see, it is much more comfortable to tell the world what is wrong with another person than to acknowledge one’s own sin.
In today’s reading from Luke 6, our Lord addresses this very issue. When teaching about casting judgment against other, Jesus states, “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”
The speck is the minor sin of another person. The log or plank is the significant sin in the life of the person casting judgment against the other. Our Lord wants us to work on what is wrong with our own lives, and to get back on track with God’s ways. This is what the scriptures call, “repentance.” Repentance is the first call of God for our lives.
Jesus points out this truth later in Luke 13:1-5, “At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”” Jesus reminds people to deal with their own sinfulness first, and to get back on track with the Lord. To complain or accuse or worry about the sin of others is merely a distraction from responding to the gracious call of God.
The account of the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 7:53 – 8:11 is another way Jesus addressed this same issue.
The fictional and satirical Church Lady is very much counter to God’s will for our lives. Instead, we are daily to do what Jesus said in his first sermon in Mark 1:15, where he said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” It is not about the sin of others, it is about how we address our own sin before our God. Remember, he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
Almighty God, by our baptism into the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, you turn us from the old life of sin. Grant that we who are reborn to new life in him may live in righteousness and holiness all our days, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.