616 West North Avenue Pittsburgh, PA. 15212 Ph: (412) 321-1682 Fax: (412) 323-1973 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office Hours – M-F 10 am – 3 pm Website: www.tlcns.org Sunday Liturgy – 9:15 & 11:00 am Word and Sacrament Every Sunday Daily Prayers @ 12 Noon & Weds. @ 7:30 pm
The Rev. John M. Cawkins, Pastor July 2, 2006 - Present
Van Service Available for Sunday Services & St. Afterschool
breezed into the office on Thursday morning, having missed an important meeting
there on Tuesday. “Oh,” she said, “I was so sick on Tuesday – feverish and
throwing up. I just cancelled the day
and went to bed until it passed on Wednesday.” A half an hour later Edna
arrived and in the casual conversation between them said, “Oh, Marguerite, it
was so good to see you at the flower show on Tuesday. I enjoyed it so much. Did you?”
Unaware that she had just blown Marguerite’s excuse out of the water she
went merrily on in the conversation.
What is an excuse? Like so many
words it has a positive and a negative definition. Webster says an excuse is simply “to give
reasons for”. But a little further on he adds another definition: “a pretended
reason for conduct.” It is just that
simple. An excuse could be a simple statement of fact (“I can’t be there on
that date because I will be in North Carolina.”) or it could be a deliberate
lie for good purpose or ill. Homer in The
Odyssey tells of a fine deception in the home of Odysseus (the hero of the
story) when, assuming him dead and gone, more than a hundred suitors come
seeking the hand of his widow, Penelope. She stalls and stalls with the excuse
that she is weaving a shroud for her elderly father-in-law and cannot choose
among her suitors until she completes the shroud. Every night she is up
unraveling what she has woven during the day. She uses the excuse to buy time,
hoping her husband will return and rescue her in her plight (he does). There
are, you see, some good uses for excuses.
But most excuses
are really cover ups, glib stories manufactured to disguise laziness or
irresponsibility. Life is filled with slip-ups, deceit, profound laziness,
inability to do what is necessary when it is appropriate. Sometimes they
provide cover and are ignored. Sometimes
they expose the teller of excuses as a plain fraud. Can you remember the first time you heard an
outrageous excuse, an obvious lie, and concluded that the speaker was just a
fraud through and through? Some have
used the excuse of the death of a grandparent so many times . . . couldn’t
possibly have that many grandparents.
In the recent book, The Other Wes Moore, the author was plucked from his neighborhood by a vigilant mother who
saw negative handwriting on the wall and trundled him off to Valley Forge
Military Academy. He hated it. He rebelled
against it and was doing quite poorly in every respect. At one point he and his roommate decided to
get with the program and give it their all.
They adopted a motto, which they repeated daily: “No excuses. No
exceptions.” The results were dramatic as their grades carried them to the top
of their classes and won the respect of peers and adults. The whole story is worth reading but No Excuses, No Exceptions was a major
The whole business of making excuses also is
present in our relationship with God.
It’s hard to be on God’s wrong side.
The person of God is quite straight.
He sees too much and knows too much for comfort. Humans tend to be disingenuous
with God. From the beginning the Lord is
able to sense when we have gone astray and then asks incriminating questions.
The excuses come rolling out. “The woman
whom you gave me, she gave me the fruit.” “The serpent, he beguiled me.” And it
never stops. Through all of history we play the blame game and excuse
ourselves. The psalmist describes the
troubled relationship between God and his people (78:35-37):
They would remember that God was their rock,
and the Most High God their redeemer.
flattered him with their mouths
and lied to him with their tongues.
was not steadfast toward him,
and they were not faithful to his covenant.
The profusion of excuses offered to God goes
nowhere. God sees through every lie, every scheme and every excuse. As one African
American song puts it, “Your Arm’s Too Short To Box With God.” In the cross God
has sidestepped the whole blame/excuse game, exhibiting the forgiveness before
the offense. Too often we don’t get it. Our calling is to grow up into the
fullness of Christ. When we stand in and before the cross perhaps we should
adopt the motto, No excuses, No exceptions. We belong to you, O Christ.
The Rev. James F. Cook The Rev. John R. Cochran Oct. 1, 1977 - April 30, 1987 Oct. 1, 1987 - Aug. 31, 2006
The Rev. Paul H. Sampsell The Rev. William W. Bruggeman Sept. 1, 1966 - Dec. 31, 1970 Jan. 1, 1972 - Aug. 31, 1976
Dr. Grover E. Swoyer The Rev. Donald R. Yost Jan. 21, 1945 - Jan. 25, 1959 Jan. 25, 1959 - April 30, 1966
Dr. Alonzo J. Turkle The Rev. Louis A. Sittler Feb. 1, 1899 - Oct. 14, 1937 Jan. 26, 1938 - Sept. 1, 1944
The Rev. Henry Reck Dr. John G. Goettmen Dec. 15, 1860 - July 1, 1863 Nov. 29, 1863 - Oct. 26, 1898