Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Something to Teach Jesus

My latest round of books for my January Doctorate of Ministry courses has arrived and I've begun to read them in preparation for my assignments.

As I engage in being graded once more, I find that I am remembering how subjective the evaluation process actually is.

Exams can be stressful!
Some of my work seems golden while other professors see it as lacking.

For one course last summer, I didn't receive timely feedback on several papers.  I had actually turned in four papers before finding out what I had made on any of them.  I was disappointed to find that I had not been living up to the expectations of the instructor as reflected in my grades.

After the feedback, my grades did improve but not to the level of my own expectation.

Of course for the final grade, I felt as if I was being docked for the instructor's lack of attention in letting me know where I was as to my work.

Yet, there it is.  I got what I earned.  I can cry or whine about it but in the end, it was her assessment of how I did in her course and that's what counts (okay, I did learn some things as well but I'm not feeling especially gracious about it to mention that part).

I think that I was looking for a little reciprocation.  We had deadlines for turning in our papers - where is the deadline for the instructor?

This was never stated in the syllabus that we would get grades before any of the due dates.

So as an example of merit over mercy, this has me looking for grace.

Our Christian faith is one where we have long touted salvation by faith rather than salvation by our good deeds.  This may have come back to bite us in that our standards as Christians may have slipped.

As Protestants, we assume that since Martin Luther said we are saved by faith that everything in scripture would surely agree.

That is until you read the Gospel of Matthew.  It is full of teaching about our good works. In the lectionary, we are getting ready to spend three weeks in the 25th chapter of Matthew.  There are three parables or examples of works righteousness that are begging for us to examine in light of our own beliefs about grace.

This Sunday, we'll look at the parable of the foolish bridesmaids in Matthew 25:1-13. When we read this, it seems as if Jesus has never even heard about Martin Luther's theology!

As I look at this parable, I am reminded about my work this summer.  It may be that Jesus would say, "Quit whining and work harder."  In the end, that's probably not bad advice.

Maybe I did learn something after all.

In Christ,


Photo by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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