Two men went forth to the Temple
To offer up their prayers,
One clothed in self-righteousness,
The other sinful and bare.
The righteous one, a Pharisee,
Approached with pride-filled chest.
The sinful one, a publican,
Could only beat his breast.
Behold! the lordly Pharisee,
His haughty eyes now raised.
He lifted prayer, not to his God,
But to himself in praise...
"I thank Thee, Lord, now for my life,
That I'm not like the rest
Of sinful men and publicans...
Truly I am blest!
Twice a week I keep a fast,
I offer tithes to You.
I trust You see my righteousness
In all the deeds I do."
Now... behold the lowly publican
Who humbly stood apart,
Who lifted not his shame-filled eyes
But smote his needy heart.
Listen to his simple prayer,
O hear his humble plea...
"O God, I am a sinful man.
Be merciful to me."
So, which prayer did the Father heed?
The one that reeked with pride?
No! 'Twas the lowly publican
Now fully justified!
For all that would exalt themselves
Shall surely be abased.
But humble men who call on God
Find mercy, peace and grace.
based on Luke 18:10-14
... "For every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
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A great dramatic poem finely worded, with lines following every detail of the real Biblical account. Speaks of the seriousness of the poet and a heart burdened with a message. You'll find a complete reprint of 'Saint Peter's Church' not in my Challenge Articles but in my Articles Archives or Critique Circle Posting. Three years after your great work I was also moved to revisit the same theme. Kindred spirits guided by one and same Spirit. It's so amazing. Thanks for your beautiful comments.