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Day 16

Monday, January 17 


“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians1:6).



Paul’s actions help us to see what to do when faced with the options of bad and worse. Let’s say that Paul and Jesus faced different options. Jesus’ story was more suited to Paul’s personality and Paul’s story more suited to Jesus’ personality. From Paul’s perspective, he wished he had Jesus’ problems. Jesus’ story is a story where the good guys wear white and the bad guys wear black. Mary and Joseph: good guys. Inn-keeper: bad guy. The crowds that followed Jesus: good guys. The scribes and Pharisees: bad guys. Judas: bad guy. Herod and Pilot: bad guys. Jesus: good guy. The options for Jesus prove clear: the kingdom of heaven or the kingdoms of this world. Decision-making in the Jesus Story is fairly clear-cut. Paul’s story, on the other hand, not so clear cut. Paul’s world is one where the bad guys wear black, the not-so-bad guys wear smoke gray, and the good guys, well, they wear different shades of gray. In Paul’s world, the crowds: bad guys. In Paul’s world, the crowds: bad guys dress in black. In Paul’s world, the governing authorities: not-so-bad guys dress in smoke gray. And in Paul’s world, the members of the church: good guys. And yet, the saints wear various shades of gray. You see, they fill up with disciples of Jesus who are in the process of being saved from idolatry, bigotry, infidelity and naivety. And this is exactly why, for Paul, the jury on his case was still out.


Write about those shaded areas of gray that bring dilemmas to your Christian walk. How do you handle them?


In what way does this make you feel that the jury is still out on your case with God? How can a Christian have both the assurance of God’s love and acceptance, while also struggling to live the call to perfect love?


O God, you bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Revisit selections from The Trumpet of Conscience by Martin Luther King, Jr.