Aloha Friday Message – January 25, 2013 – A Snob in the Pew

1304AFC012513 – A Snob in the Pew

Read it online here, please

James 2:1Don’t ever attempt, my brothers, to combine snobbery with faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ!”

Romans 2:11God does not play favorites.

Beloved, I must confess something to you. I AM A SNOB! I play favorites. I look down my colossal nose at people who say further when they mean farther, or tell me “It’s a mute point” instead of “It’s a moot point.” I wonder about preachers who refer to The Book of Revelations when the title is actually and simply Revelation as in the opening sentence of the first verse of the first chapter: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.” I marvel that really angry people can say, “I am utterly incessed” instead of “I am utterly incensed.” I look with incredulity when somebody in a pickup with tires that cost $450 apiece and a suspension system more complex than a planetary-rover robot can whizz by at 40 mph in a 25 mph zone, but goes 0.2 mph over the speed-bump in the grocery store parking lot. What is the matter with these people anyway?!?!?

Perhaps you can see that it’s not those people, who I am judging, who have the problem. The problem is me, my pride, and my duplicious (that’s supposed to be duplicitous) behavior. I am not, it seems, the Man of Peace I wish to be, and therefore it is wrong that I fancy myself better that another. Being Christ-like and being a snob are antithetical – polar opposites. What is the matter with me anyway?!?!?

Today, we continue with our examination of prayers by famous pray-ers. I want to look at a prayer from a man who worked harder at being Christ-like than most of us could ever imagine. He lived by the most rigorous rules of poverty, chastity, and obedience – so rigorous that his lifestyle destroyed his health and hastened his death; and yet his commitment to living like Christ was so nearly-perfect that he was identified with Christ in body, mind, and spirit – even bearing the marks of Christ’s wounds in his flesh. The first such person that comes to mind is the Apostle Paul; the second is the man often referred to as “Everyone’s Saint,” Saint Francis of Assisi. Here are two versions of a prayer attributed to him. The first is a translation of the original prayer in French. The second is an adaptation of The Prayer of St Francis as expressed by Mother Theresa

StFrancisPray of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


Mother Theresa’s version

Make us worthy Lord to serve our fellow men throughout the world,
who live and die in poverty and hunger.
Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread
and by our understanding love give peace and joy.
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.
That where there is hatred I may bring love,
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony,
That where there is error I may bring truth,
That where there is doubt I may bring faith,
That where there is despair I may bring hope,
That where there are shadows I may bring light,
That where there is sadness I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted,
To understand than to be understood,
To love than to be loved.
For it is by forgetting self that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven,
it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

Many of us have sung or listened to a hymn based on this prayer and written by John Michael Talbot or the more familiar tune and adaptation by Sebastian Temple, Make Me a Channel of your Peace. All Christians are instructed by the Apostle Paul to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16). Singing is the sign a cheerful heart (James 5:13). Thus Saint Augustine says rightly, “Singing is for one who loves.” There is also the ancient proverb: “One who sings well prays twice.” Sounds like I need to break into song instead of breaking a sweat over some stupid grammar rule or vocabulary boo-boo.

When I hear my Snob Voice sneering around in the back of my head, I want to hear one of these songs start up automatically so that I don’t sow discord, don’t commit wrong deeds, don’t act out of prejudice, hatred, snobbery, greed, or (O God forgive me) stupidity. Beloved, be grateful to God if you have eliminated every form of snobbery in your life! Rejoice when you see that the end of your nose it right where it belongs – in your own business and not into belittling someone else’s business. If you keep hearing those tunes from the Mightier Than Thou band, you may be like me and you need a nose-job ’cause you’re a known snob.

What shall I do about this? Well, if I sing my prayer and pray my song, perhaps I will in that way pray twice. I can sing this Prayer of St. Francis, and I can pray it as I sing. It doesn’t sound difficult; in fact, I am sure I will enjoy that. How about you, Beloved? Is there some prayer you could sing as a song you can pray? Are there any which come to mind? Let me offer these for your consideration:


HINT: There are nine hymns here, more than one-a-day for you to try.

I’m going to try to sing The Prayer of St. Francis all next week. It’s a great song because it’s a great prayer. If it is a prayer that’s sung, and one who sings prays twice, then maybe singing a great prayer is

2 X 2 = 4.

What do you think? Will you pray for me, Beloved? Will you pray that the snob in the pew next to you remembers his (or her) heart is made for Jesus’ Peace, and not for judgment? Will you ask God, on my behalf, to make me a Channel of His Peace? Please do, and I shall sing a prayer for you as well.


Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

GOD does not play favorites. Neither should we. Well, not among persons anyway. Favorite hymns? That’s another matter!


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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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