Today's service was an excellent example of worship. We had memorable lessons, from the story of Rebekah and Isaac's "marriage," and St. Paul's battle of the way of the flesh vs. the way of the spirit, to Jesus in Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Fr. Dunbar filling in for our Rector who is on vacation, put together a very good sermon from the reading of Romans 7:15-25a, and Matthew. He reminded us to see things with the eyes of a child, to allow our imaginations to help us surrender our burdens to Jesus.
Now this is the part that we mustn't tell the rector. We finished the service with a "National" Hymn (1982 Hymnal #717-My country 'tis of thee... ). It is not often that we are allowed to sing any of these hymns that have been pushed to the last pages of the Episcopal Hymnal. How could it have slipped through and gotten included in the service music? When the cat's away the mice will play. Well, at least we didn't process with the American flag.
There was a little problem in that the Gospel reading for today was another expurgated version (who does this lectionary meddling anyway?).
We listened to the spliced together version as commanded. There is no indication in the printed bulletin of where the splice occurs. Did anyone else notice that Matthew 11:19-24 got left out. It adds to the context, but it may be troubling to hear Jesus speak in this threatening manner (if justice is a threat). Here is the missing text with verse 25 included so that you can understand the splice:
"20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not
21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."
I can imagine a "wise and prudent" (v. 25) Episcopal Church scholar thinking "Well, that must have been a later addition to the text, and it would flow much better into those little minds of mush if we just leave that part out. Besides, we don't want our Rectors to have to explain what happened to Sodom; we don't teach that at seminary anymore."
I am but a child at all this religious stuff, and that's how I see it.