‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ Mark 1:11This Sunday's lessons offered more examples of listening to God's voice in 1Samuel 3,
"Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, 'Samuel! Samuel!' And Samuel said, 'Speak, for your servant is listening. [Then the LORD said to Samuel, 'See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle...'"and in John 1:43,
"He found Philip and said to him, 'Follow me.'"Our preacher today did a good job expostulating on listening for God's voice, but I wonder how many ears were listening to the words from St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians that was also read aloud today?
"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food," and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, "The two shall be one flesh." But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:11b-20I wonder how many preachers incorporated Paul's instructions into their sermons today?
Not ours, and if you are an Episcopalian, probably not yours either.
In the sermon we heard, we were told that we should follow a voice if that voice comes from an authoritative person.
I tend to suspect that Paul's letters are no longer considered authoritative on matters of sexual morality in the Episcopal church, and that is why he got the short shrift today.
We ignore the Saints' voices at our own risk.
As an example, I hold up the example of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland where their Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook is charged with killing a bicyclist due to driving under the influence while texting.
Bishop Cook, who is not married but has instead a male "companion", had a previous DUI prior to her election, and at that time marijuana paraphernalia was also in her vehicle.
If the words of the Epistles were known, heard, and understood as authoritative by those in charge of reviewing her nomination, perhaps she would never have been placed in such a position, a position which might be too much for an alcoholic (she has checked into a treatment center) to handle, and just maybe the accident would never have happened.
"What words?" you ask.
A female, “companioned” bishop candidate with a history of a DUI would not fit the historical Biblical qualifications:
It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine… 1 Timothy 3
An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness… Titus 1:6-7
If only the diocese had not departed from following the advice of the Saints...
If only someone had dared to question the “companion” statement at her election...
If only we listened to the voices...