Saturday, August 20, 2016

Rules vs. Healing

Tomorrow's gospel is about Jesus healing a woman on the Sabbath and being called on the carpet by the Jewish authorities.

Well, to me, that's just silly.

Of course, if you ask people who know me they'll tell you I have little patience for rules to begin with.

But a rule that would stop a healing, well, that's just crazy in my mind.

Rules ARE rules. But Healings ARE healings. Which would you opt for? If you don't choose a 'healing' over a rule, I'd ask you to ponder it a bit longer....

Here's a story about 'rules' and 'healing' that I'll probably use in my sermon tomorrow: Holly and Dot were a couple in Waterbury I knew. Holly is white and Dot is black so add that to the whole same-sex thing. They would show up at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve along with Dot's mom, who lived with them, every year. Then, one year, after Midnight Mass, they were waiting for me in the church library. They told me they were going to become involved in the church and thanked me for the Eucharist that led them to want to be a part of the parish.

Well, people say things like that all the time. But Holly and Dot really meant it. They became super-involved--Dot's mom too. Both Holly and Dot served on the vestry eventually and did lots of other things for St. John's.

Thing is, Dot and her mother had never been baptized.

The 'rule' in the Episcopal church is 'no baptism'/'no communion'. That's the rule. But Dot and her mother didn't know the rule and I never mentioned it when inviting people to communion. When they found out, somehow, they'd been breaking the 'rule', they came and asked me to baptize them. I was delighted to do so. Dot stopped receiving until their joint baptisms on All Saint's Day. Dot's mom told me she was old enough to want all the communion she could get, so she didn't stop receiving!!!

So, I baptized Dot and her mother and they continued, after that, to receive the communion that brought them to the baptismal font.

I am very 'low church' in liturgy--the only 'manual acts' I do in consecrating the bread and wine is to make the sign of the cross over them. But I am beyond 'high church' in my appreciation of the sacraments. The sacraments, for me, are REAL. Once at a Good Friday service, I was sharing the bread and an American Baptist pastor was sharing the wine. I heard him say to someone, "this represents the Blood of Christ. I stopped and pulled him to the side. "In this place," I told him, "you say this IS the blood of Christ. And he did.

If the font leads to the Table, why can't the Table lead to the Font?

I think I  have my sermon for tomorrow in there somewhere. Rules vs. Healing. Not a choice in my mind--obvious as hell.....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.