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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Working Women

How many times have I read or heard this Gospel story? I'm certain I can't count them all.  I've even preached on M & M Sunday, mightily restraining myself from getting annoyed that Martha didn't "get no respect".

At least in the NRSV I'm using for this meditation, I've read through and noticed -- for the first time -- that Martha never asked Mary directly to help her with the 'women's work'.  No nudge.  No gesturing or polite 'ahem' is mentioned in this account.

Martha was doing the manual hospitality work.  Mary was working, too.  Mary was engaged in the 'being' hospitality work.  Making Jesus feel at home.  She listened, perhaps ask questions, took it all in.

So - each was working her own way - one as she thought she should, one as she thought she could.  Jesus reminds Martha there are times when doing the right thing can be distracting - attempting to get Mary to help with meal preparation by using Jesus was distracting, and he would have none of it.  After all, this visit wasn't planned.  And I can't recall an account of Jesus complaining about a meal - how and when it was served or whether the meal was unacceptable.

Working women everywhere, take note.  Working together making hospitality seem effortless, is a delightful, blessed gift to all.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another Saint Joins the Ranks

Perhaps you never knew of her existence, or her name, or her work.  This article may be the first you have ever read about her.

There are many priests in our church and a growing percentage of these are women.

But ... a woman priest in Cuba???

Back in 1987 three women were ordained Episcopal priests in Havana.  One of the three was Nerva Cot Aguilera, former school teacher.  In 2007 Madre Nerva was consecrated suffragan bishop of western Cuba.

Obispo Aguilera died on Saturday July 10th and was buried yesterday, July 11.

Read more about Nerva Cot Aguilera and her life in the following article from EpiscopalLife Online:

¡Ella puede descansar en paz y se elevan en gloria! (May she rest in peace and rise in glory!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Plumb Line and the Samaritan

Two memorable readings from today’s lectionary struck me. The story from Amos and the parable most often dubbed The Good Samaritan.

Amos had a vision where God, the ultimate upright, stands by a perfectly upright wall created with the use of a plumb line: precise, clean, straight, completely perpendicular to the surface of the ground, with a string weighted down by a stone in hand. “What do you see?” asks God. Amos (can you imagine a kind of uh … duh…’ running through his mind?) replies “A plumb line”. Amos is a practical guy. He earned a living by raising cattle and trimming trees. This prophet life was not a career change that he sought. God called and he answered.

Like many a prophet before him, Amos must bear God’s message to the people and it’s not a joyful or lighthearted one. GET IT RIGHT – I’M TIRED OF COMING TO YOUR AID. CLEAN UP YOUR ACT. DO THE RIGHT THING. HAVE MORAL BACKBONE. TAKE CARE OF THE WEAK. LIVE IN UPRIGHT, GODLY FASHION.

Amaziah, priest at Bethel, puts his own spin on Amos’ message and forwards it to King Jeroboam. Next Amaziah, looking to keep things as they are for his own self interest, confronts Amos directly, telling him to take his message elsewhere. Amos leaves, but not before delivering God's special message to Amaziah.

The initial question posed by a lawyer to Jesus in the Gospel sounds like a request for specifics to God's message to Amos:"Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus refers the lawyer to THE LAW: "What do you read there?” The lawyer responds “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live."

Jesus then relates a story about someone who uses the plumb line, who has become the human plumb line, who automatically does the right thing. It’s a sign of the times that the early editors of these scriptures dubbed him ‘The GOOD Samaritan’ because “everybody knew” all of the unclean, other- worshipping Samaritans were other than good. This person was an exception.

Jesus, having told a vivid parable about living an upright life, asks the lawyer “Which of these three, do you think, was a true neighbor?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." Note well that the lawyer cannot even bring himself to say that a Samaritan – NOT a Jew, a despicable outcast –followed God’s precepts. Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." The remark must have been shocking, unsettling to the gathering.

It may be unsettling to us even now. Every one of us is capable becoming the plumb line, of living an upright life, regardless of religious affiliation. It is a choice that transcends our divisions.

Given opportunities daily, what will I choose, what will you choose, what will we choose?

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