Who are we kidding?
Matthew 23: 1-12 (NRSV)
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. 6 They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. 9 And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
Forgive us Lord when we have chosen to ‘round up’ to make ourselves look good.
When we have exaggerated our achievements to flatter ourselves,
to signal our virtue to others.
Forgive us Lord when we have taken something legitimate and have expanded it so that we look impressive, more worthy, more intimidating.
Who do we think we are kidding?
We can’t kid you.
And yet weirdly we try.
We sometimes kid others
we even kid ourselves on
but we cannae kid you.
Give us a sense of humour
to see ourselves as you do
with love but also simply as we are
— sometimes puffed up and ruffed up
and ripe for a reckoning.
With laughter in our lungs
and tears on our cheeks
burst our pride