According to the Tax Code, a church such as Temple of Gaia or the Universal Episcopal Church is supposed to stay out of partisan politics in order to be tax-exempt. That means that I can’t get into a pulpit and preach for or against a candidate. But the nature of ministry being “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” means that I am supposed to face issues head-on. And if a candidate creates or becomes an issue, I need to face the issue.
With some of the stuff going on as the presidential election approaches, we are not lacking for issues, including issues of basic civil rights that most people take for granted. And, precedent gives cause for concern.
We need to look and see what we might need to be ready for, and keep our eyes open!
The gospel reading for today contains a hint, perhaps the first for us, of Jesus’ intent for his ministries, first on earth and then for later. The “woman of Canaan” was indeed of lower status than even a Samaritan, but it goes beyond that. She was an outright foreigner to the Jews of Jesus’ time.
Elsewhere, in John’s gospel, just before the Passover in Jerusalem, some Greeks seek to meet Jesus. When Jesus hears of it, he knows that his time has come. This gives us some clue as to what he knew and his intent.
February 20th is Tempest Smith Day, and it will be at least as long as I can have any say in the matter. She died February 20, 2001 at the age of twelve years old. She died by her own hand as a result of religious harassment at her school. She had adopted Wicca as her faith, and that was one of the more major pretexts her classmates used to harass her.
But this goes beyond that. This sort of harassment and bullying is not limited to schoolchildren. Those of us who spend any time keeping up to date on the news should know that. And it needs to stop.
A point made in today’s Epistle that some folks dismiss as obvious, but so many miss entirely. There is a basic need that we not receive God’s grace in vain! This issue is not limited to Christians, either. I’ve seen the same issue in every spiritual path I’ve studied.
How often do we see folks going off in their own peculiar direction, and only giving lip service to the actual teachings? A good thought to begin with on Lent!
Atheists and Christians of the Evangelical/ Pentecostal Protestant variety might not agree on much. But, they sure can miss the same point! Watch what happens when subjects like famine, war, hate, disease and poverty comes up.
On those subjects, Atheists (and agnostics) like to taunt us with “Where is your god?” In almost the same breath, some Christians will try to blame such problems on “God’s will” or postpone resolution until “God’s time”. Guess what! Both miss the same point!
Of all that we do, there is one element which makes our efforts precious or worthless! The epistle forces a challenge on us. Do we want to make a bunch of noise, or do we want to actually accomplish something? One factor is the difference. And that difference is a word some folks today don’t really understand.
This can be a challenge for some people, especially when we see what that one factor is like, and particularly when we see what it is particularly not like. But knowing this, we can build!