[Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt… – Luke 18:9
Truly you see that he is contemptible.
Imagine a collaborator, a Quisling, a snake
who slithers his way to take chicks from the nest.
Such is this man, who is rich from his friends –
if he has any, now, since he fronts for the Romans
and seizes their substance for them and himself.
I thank you, Creator, that I have not fallen
to such mean temptation or villainous deed.
You’ll find that my substance is shared with my household.
You’ll find that my giving to you is correct.
You’ll find I am faithful in all of my doings.
To you I give praise for your law and design.
Now listen, O Great One, as he struggles to pray.
My studies have given me words fit for angels,
to proclaim your glory as if my voice echoed
the song of the heavens and heaven’s chorale.
And he prays for mercy? Sure, mercy he covets,
but we know his plea is yet more of his greed.
Truly you see that he is contemptible,
in life and profession, in false piety.
Let not his petition leave grit in your ears,
but hear my thanksgiving and praise to your name.
You, and you only, can judge your Creation.
You, and you only, can say what contemptible is.
A poem/prayer based on Luke 18:9-14, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year C, Proper 25 (30).
The image is a woodcut for Die Bibel in Bildern, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld – Die Bibel in Bildern, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5490865.