St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church


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Nobody is Perfect

Posted by Lauryn Butler on

Lauryn Butler's sermon on Pentecost (May 20, 2018)


Nobody is perfect.

It’s a statement we have known throughout our entire lives but still find hard to accept as fact.

Not only do those around us sometimes fall short of the high expectations we set for them, but we ourselves fall short of the expectations we have set in our own lives.

In Acts 2 Peter addresses the crowd and tells them what the prophet Joel has spoken. Joel says:

“The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.”

I wondered why such a positive and beautiful event such as the coming of the Lord has such negative and dreary imagery attached to it.

The sight of darkness replacing the sun and the moon turning to blood are things that evoke fear and dread, not excitement and happiness that I assume I would feel if God appeared before me. So why is a wonderful and holy event described as happening at the same time as these gruesome events?

For starters, when the Lord comes this means that each person will be equal and all of the injustices of the world will be undone.

For everyone, the idea of injustice being reversed is a scary thought; for all of us have committed unjust acts and benefit from injustices whether we know it or not.

Injustices do not have to be large events of horror or unfairness to a widespread group of people, but can also be small everyday actions that affect only a single person. The idea of injustices being undone means that things we think are right will be reversed. We fear that what we believe is right will be later revealed as unjust and harmful.

Not only this, but things that benefit us might be reversed.

For me, if all the unfairness of the world was lifted this moment,

I would no longer have advantages in some areas that while they are completely unfair to some, they benefit me.

I would lose the white privilege that I have,

I would lose the privileges that come with being a part of a affluent family,

I would lose the educational advantage I have.

It’s a scary thought realizing that someday, we may no longer have these benefits to fall back upon. And this is why the coming of God is described in the way that it is. When the Holy Spirit first visited the people in Jerusalem, the realization of how their benefits and advantages could be taken away was comparable to an apocalypse in their minds!

We don’t always know what is right in the moment or what will be right in the future. Like I said before, none of us are perfect.

We are not only flawed in some of the choices we make, but we are also not perfect in our faith.

I go to public charter school where more than half of the students and faculty are from a differing church background than I am. For someone like me who didn’t grow up in a strong religious environment, transferring to this high school was a big shock.

I remember one particular discussion I had with one of my close friends last year. The conversation started casually by my friend asking about my religious views; because out of my friend group, I was known as the one who didn’t believe in God or the one who was not a devout Christian.

To her, my views and opinions were foreign ideas that didn’t make any sense; kind of like how hers seemed to me. I tried my best to tell her my stance on religion but she  couldn’t seem to get over the fact that I don’t wholeheartedly believe that there is a God.

I tried to go dig deeper and explain how even though I’m not 100% sure there is a God, that I want there to be one. And how if there is a God, I love Him deeply. The discussion only kept getting more intense until I remember her saying how she didn’t understand how I could believe in so little and how depressing my life must be because of my views.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with my peers that go along those lines. Whenever the topic of religion comes up at school or with friends, I usually try to steer clear of it all together, knowing what people will say if I interject my opinion—although sometimes I can’t help myself.

To me, their fixed religious views seem strange and different than my uncertain views, and I can only begin to imagine what they think about my point of view. But no matter what our differences are there is one thing regarding religion we share; we both love God no matter how firmly or loosely we believe in Him.

For some loving and following Him might be following exactly what is said in the Bible and accepting what is written as absolute fact.

For others, it might consist more of being skeptical and questioning what is being said. While both sides seem to think that they’re right, there is no right answer and there will never be a perfect faith.

In Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit comes, people from all different ethnic and religious backgrounds are gathered. However, once the Holy Spirit begins spreading their message, no one language overpowers the others.

Each person that was gathered heard God’s message in their own native tongue. This is showing us that God does not hold one group of people higher than another.

There was not one language that overpowered the rest, there was no specific group that the Spirit came down to visit. The Holy Spirit was there to visit all of the people that were gathered there; not just Christians but Jews as well. Everyone that was in the room was seen as equal in His eye.

God did not intend for there to be one absolute faith that everyone follows.

He does not judge people on how deeply they believe in Him or how many questions they have.

He doesn't care if we are skeptical of what is written in the Bible or even skeptical of his existence.

He sees all of us as His children and does not value one way of faith over the other.

He is inviting us to not judge one another.

Even God, who knows everything, like our questions our criticisms and our flaws,

He does not judge us, so why should we judge each other?

Because nobody is perfect.

Through God, we are all equal.