The Lectionary readings for this week (Proper 22, Year A) include the account of the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus, Paul's account of his view of his own righteousness in Philippians, and a parable given by Christ as a warning to some self-righteous Pharisee's. Laws and law-abiders.
God, we have all kinds of reasons to feel smug:
We follow the laws;
We donate to charitable organizations;
We pay our taxes;
We go to church on Sundays;
We don’t cheat, steal, or murder.
We have a lot of self-righteousness,
And only a little humility.
See: we’ve forgotten that behind the letter of the law
There is the spirit;
That behind the commandments,
There is “Love God. Love Neighbor.”
We can follow every law
And obey every commandment
And it won’t change our hearts
Or fill us with your spirit.
Don’t let us do all this work to maintain appearances
And never have our hearts opened.
We need to go beyond the law, to the inner person,
And be renewed in our inmost being.
We need our laws to be reflections of our loves:
For you, God, and for our neighbors.
What we need is deep, heart-and-soul healing;
We need the presence of Christ in us.
Straighten us out, God.
We need your help.