And just before we get into Advent, which is an exciting time, comes a review of some basic points. The Old Testament reading for the Epistle gives a clear idea of what faith is about, and it is a promise which many still await.
And then there is the story of the loaves and fishes, one of those stories which people often tell but miss some major points almost as often. Like the number of people who want to criticize a disciple when all he did was give us a way to measure how much was about to happen. And as you get the sacrament offered here, so also is the point of most of the Gospels given here, that you be ready to grasp what Advent has to offer.
I hope that, as I asked for, all are joining me in prayers in support of Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Dicoese of South Carolina. Until recently, they were part of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America. In fact, they were one of the founding dioceses. They helped beget PECUSA, not vice-versa. Of course, there has been a faction-fight in PECUSA going back to at least 1975 when it became evident to me. I originally left them in 1978 and after a few years of trying again, left for keeps in 1990. Bishop Mark Lawrence was there through all of that, even though we were not aware of each other. Enough on that.
Bishop Lawrence is a traditionalist. Nevertheless, he wanted to keep fighting for tradition even though others felt the need to leave, and other bodies formed. Things came to a head at the most recent general convention in which three issues which were complete breaks with tradition and, in some cases, morality, came to a point where he and most of his delegation felt the need to leave the convention. One of the issues which really bothers me you probably never read about in the secular news because it has nothing to do with sex. It did have to do with allowing unbaptized persons to receive Holy Communion, when baptism has always been a basic requirement since the Last Supper.
What has been happening of late makes me say the same thing about the Protestant Episcopal Church all the more, as Ronald Reagan said of the Democratic Party in 1964: “I didn’t leave them, they left me!” I could say more, but I want to stick to my topic here.
I invite you to read the Diocese of South Carolina web site at http://www.dioceseofsc.org/ and draw your own conclusions.
We come to the end of “Trinity season” with a story to go with the sacrament that gives one of those points that remind me of when the professor would say “and if you don’t get anything else out of this course…”.
Here is a pair of stories, presented as one story, and we see a common thread in both that make the two stories unite into one lesson. The ruler whose daughter had died had one thing in common with the woman who had been afflicted for 12 years. And the people who thought they were “helping” the ruler by getting the start on his daughter’s funeral didn’t have it – quite the contrary. Get that point and you get the point of what I’m trying to do for you.
And here, we see Jesus pass up an opportunity that many of us (myself, for sure) would probably fall for. And I can’t say I’d blame anyone who did, either.
This is the story that has the line “Give unto Caesar….”, but the story goes far beyond that. And there’s much to be learned in the full story. The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus, but do you see how he trapped them, but didn’t spring the trap?
A story worthy of a soap-opera, and a sacrament, too!
Twenty-second Sunday After Trinity -Church Back Home- November 4, 2012
Along with the sacrament, a secret. Or at least, some folks think that this is one.
Here we hear about forgiveness seventy times seven, which takes on added significance if you recognize the significance of numbers in a Jewish literary context. And then there’s the king who is owed a large sum by one of his people who is in turn owed a trifling sum.
There is a lesson here not only in forgiveness, but also in the art of giving and being given to! So obscure to some, yet so vital once we see it!