What if there is some other explanation to our lack of justice? Our inaction? Our fall-short love and too-dim light?
I sat in St.Faith’s Anglican and listened to Reverend Travis Enright tell about a homeless man. A man who feels ousted by people of faith. Feels unloved. I thought about the people I work with or rather, work near at Hope Mission. I thought about our reading from the book of James, telling us to show no favouritism to the rich. Telling us there is no faith in a faith without works.
Hypocrisy is an easy label.
I’ve heard that word tossed about as the ultimate weapon against Christianity. The best reason to disregard an ancient faith as irrelevant. It is not without reason or understanding.
The sad facts cannot be denied. The wide gap between suffering and the response of the Church. The gaping need for love in the face of our meager offerings. If we offer anything at all.
Televangelists abuse power and take finances needed by – given for – the poor. Plastic smiles paint over pain with positive thinking.
Christianity so often all rings hollow.
But what if we are not hypocrites, I wonder? Certainly that’s part of the equation, but the label feels too tidy. ‘Hypocrite’ is a trite bumper sticker shrinking as we peel away from religion.
‘Hypocrite' is a hollow cry, when you look at almost any human endeavour. Try your hand at nearly anything you are bound to come up short at first. For a time we all falter.
There are so many things we know to do, but do not do. So many words without works. We know how to eat healthy, but we don’t. We know how to save money, but we don’t. We know how to get more sleep but we don’t. There are these gaps between what we know and what we do, and we excuse them. But not with spiritual practice.
When it comes to God, we love to shame. We love to cry ‘hypocrite'.
What if we are not hypocrites? What if the life of love is just very. very hard? Would we not look like hypocrites, with all of our failure to get this right?
And what if failure is the greatest sign of our efforts?
In every failure there stands a man or woman who has tried. Who, we should pray, will get up and try again.
I don’t love my neighbour well enough. Not yet. But in grace I tell you that I am not a hypocrite. I am simply weak. Not so good at love. Not yet. Growing stronger every day.
Not trying my best, certainly. Failing often.
But I am trying.