RCL C Proper 6 Complementary
II Samuel 11:26–12:10 and 13-15, Psalm 32, Galatians 2:15-21, Saint Luke 7:36–8:3

The Lessons today give us portraits of three sinners. Two are serious sinners, and the third resembles ordinary sinners. All sin harms the sinner and wounds God. Most sin, also, wounds a human victim. What way forward lies within our reach?

The first sinner is King David in the Lesson from Second Samuel. Part of David’s serious sin involves his difficulty seeing himself in the story Nathan the Prophet tells him. David cannot see himself as the rich man who takes a poor man’s little ewe lamb, a lamb who is more like a daughter than a pet. David’s sin is encased in a striking oblivion, an unawareness that is breath-taking.

What David has done is this. He has espied a woman he desires. He gets her with child, and then, using power as King, he engineers her husband’s death in battle. But still he doesn’t immediately identify with a rich man who takes a poor man’s lamb.

The second great sinner in the Lessons is the woman in the city who shows great love to Jesus as he dines with Simon the Pharisee. Her great love shown to Jesus measures her great sin. And, as Jesus signals in his parable about the forgiveness of a debt of five hundred denarii and the forgiveness of a debt of fifty denarii, the great love she shows measures the great forgiveness she knows she will receive from Jesus.

As oblivious as David is about the seriousness of his sin, so aware is the woman about the seriousness of her sin and the forgiveness her sin requires.

The Lessons today give us all-star sinners. But Simon the Pharisee, so rigorous in keeping the law, so unforgiving of Jesus as he allows the woman to show her great love, has not great sin, but he displays the sin of not thinking well of someone else, someone different, someone with another set of values or tastes. Who can claim never to have done that?

These three portraits show varying degrees of sin and varying degrees of awareness of that sin. My preachment to you (as it is to myself) calls for all of us to become more aware of our sin and more aware of the damage it does to us, to God, and to the human victims. I invite you daily to ask the forgiveness of God for the sins you know and the sins you don’t know, sins known and unknown. If you do this, your journey to forgiveness will be that much shorter. You will know firsthand the truth of the Psalm today: “Great are the tribulations of the wicked; * but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord.”[1]

[1] Psalm 32:11.

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