If last Sundays’ Gospel reading (Luke 18:1-8) had a theme song, it might be the classic, “Anything You Can Do” from “Annie Get Your Gun.” I have always found this passage, others similar to it, to be comforting in the utter simplicity of its argument. Essentially, Jesus makes the claim that if we are to believe that we have a loving God, then God must, logically, love better than we can. And if we can imagine a scenario where we might love someone, or in this case grant justice, in a flawed, finite manner, then God can therefore do so much more. This message is repeated in Luke 11:11-13, in which Jesus states that if we, as humans, respond to our children lovingly when they ask for things, God will likewise respond lovingly to God’s own children.
But there are two caveats to this whole argument. The first is that we believe in kind, loving, compassionate God. Sometimes the way people talk about God doesn’t convey that. Second, we need to experience kind, loving parents, or (grudgingly) just judges. When Jesus says in the Gospel of Luke, “which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” we have to acknowledge there are abusive, cruel fathers (and other parents and caregivers) out there who conceivably would do just that. So as the Church, the body of Christ, by showing love and compassion we do more than the immediate benevolence of the action, but also inform those for whom we care about the qualities of the God we represent.
Yours in Christ,