I've now twice done the Liturgy from General Convention this summer that was the Integrity mass.
Integrity is GLBTQ Episcopalians and their friends. I was the chaplain to Integrity Connecticut for 5 or 6 years and they met for 10 years or more at St. John's, Waterbury while I was the Rector there. Integrity is close to my heart.
Howie from St. James found the liturgy on line and printed it out. It is wonderful!
And one of the wonderful things is the music they used. One of the hymns is "They will know we are Christians by our Love'.
It's been rattling around in my head for days now and causes me to ponder how the hell anyone would know we were Christians by our love?
Many of us Christians are not very 'loving'.
Many of us are in favor of the atrocity that is our immigration practises. Many of us do not trust 'the other' in our midst. Welcoming strangers is not our strong suit--many of us Christians.
Last Sunday's gospel was Jesus meeting the Syrophonecian woman who asks him to heal her daughter.
To the Jesus in Mark's gospel, that woman is the absolute 'other'.
In the first century even Jewish women did not talk to Jewish men in public. And she was a Gentile. She was 'the other'. For the 'other' to instigate conversation with a Jewish teacher/prophet was unheard of--abomination.
Jesus is cruel to her. He tells her the dogs should not eat the children's bread.
Calling someone a dog is a remarkable insult in any culture. But in first century Israel, it was even more so. Dogs were not 'pets' then--they were either workers or nearly wild. And calling a woman a 'dog'--especially a female dog--is even today a case for the 'Me Too' movement.
But the woman confounds him. She says, 'but even the dogs can eat the crumbs from the children's table'.
For the only time I can think of in the gospels, Jesus changes his mind.
The woman shows him she is not 'the other', she is one of God's beloved too. So he heals her daughter at a distance and she finds the girl well when she returns home.
"The Other" has much to teach us. We are a nation that has embraced wave after wave of 'others'--not always gracefully, but eventually.
"The Other" has much to teach us--most of all, how to love them. Then and only then will 'they know we are Christians by our love, by our love...."
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