With Ash Wednesday still lingering in my mind, I read the letter to Titus this morning. How quickly the church came to a place where one faction stood ready to condemn another, and leaders commanded to silence those who taught otherwise. It doesn’t even seem to be a matter of obvious heresy, but of a fight over who can claim to be the righteous tax collector in the synagogue, and who can be accused of being the self-righteous Pharisee.
We’re coming up on a Sunday when many of us will recall Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness. Many of us will be using Mark’s gospel, which is a bit short on details, and maybe that’s a good thing. Perhaps that will give us room to reflect more deeply on the temptations facing the church and its leaders, including you and me, that so quickly lead us away from following where Jesus has led, and so easily following in the way of Titus, freely using the name of Jesus as we bash away at those whose politics and liturgical practices are not right. It will be a real struggle, and I am very uncomfortable knowing exactly how to do that. But I think a good place to start might be to read again MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.