God, you see, doesn't keep any score of our sin; he has even done away with all the score cards by Jesus' dying on the cross. We, however, love to keep scores on everyone who doesn't meet our standard of righteousness. Capon asks what if the publican, in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, doesn't clean up his act after being justified by God. We would expect him the following week on returning to the synagogue, to pray just as the Pharisee had done the previous week. But Capon insists that he would still be justified more than the Pharisee, even though he doesn't meet all our expectations. We might allow him to go to the synagogue three times; three strikes and you're out, we say, but God doesn't work that way. He's infinitely more merciful than we are.
This God fills me with goose bumps. I get excited about a God who was in Jesus Christ through whom he has reconciled now, not will reconcile, the whole world to himself; in which the losers of this world are the real winners. But not even they, the 'last, least, littlest, lost and dead' will see their resurrection, but only death. "Death, you see," Capon writes, "is absolutely all of the resurrection we can now know. The rest is faith." It's all about faith in that one man Jesus, not Tommy Handley, or anyone whom the world approves. What could be a greater sign of left-handed weakness than to be born in a crude stable and to die on a rough cross? This left-handedness of God replenishes me with the childlike wonder and awe I had lost. That's why from now on I'll strive to keep Christmas each day, not only on December 25th, as Jesus invites everyone to enjoy his party.
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