Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hemlines and Fringes

Mary Cat (not to be confused with the NYC Subway Godmother of Soul in the video above) delivered today's sermon and focused on the reading from Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26. Once again, she gets a story where there is a feminine element. Is it my imagination, or does she get these subjects more often than not? Mary Cat, focusing solely on verses 20-22 gave a personal reflection on a time when someone reached out to her. We should all reflect back on those times as either missed opportunities or times where we were able to help someone. The positive experiences of sharing God's love can be by just being present and listening as Mary Cat explained, but there are times when more is needed, and that is the hard part for many of us, and this is the part I wish she had touched on. I am referring to the times when I could have explained how Christ was present in our lives. Usually, when I reflect on a situation, I focus on what I should have or could have done, or how the situation affected me personally. The most important question may be the one I forget to ask, "Why did I ignore God's presence?" Answer: I was thinking about myself. If the interaction made me uncomfortable, "Why did I not ask for your help?" All too often, we do not allow God to be part of our human interactions. Lord forgive me as I am guilty pretty much all the time.

Again, we have to marvel at the Episcopal Lectionary and how we omitted verses 14-17 of Matthew 9:

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often,* but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘The wedding-guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.

When the Gospel is read in Church omitting certain verses, and it is printed in the bulletin in such a way that the selected readings are seamlessly "patched" together without even a "..." put in to indicate a break, I am afraid he scriptures become prophetic "and a worse tear is made." What is the reason for leaving out the middle of a Gospel section? Is it to make the service shorter? Only our poor pewsitters wind up getting short changed. More likey "we are making a new wineskin" by rewriting the Bible to be more convenient.

Another note on the Bulletin insert, Part II of "A Brief History of the Lambeth Conference," (for more details go to the Curmudgeon's analysis)we get the Rev. Webber's interpretation of how sex, birth control, abortion, and marriage have been handled by past Lambeth conferences. Apparently not up to his standards since his final paragraph displays clear bias when he writes,
"Not until 1958 would the bishops begin to construct a positive theology of marriage..."

They could not put this new theology into the old wineskin of 2000 years of scripture and tradition, they had to make up a new theology. If they try to put too much more of that new wine into my old skin, I will surely burst.
Who is on the fringe here, or is my bias showing?


  1. Hi Pewster,
    Before I finished reading your post, and I was just thinking about why the verses were omitted, I was thinking:
    Maybe because they are claiming to have a new revelation (new wine) but they are trying to fit it in the old wineskin (the Episcopal churches). And I was thinking, why can't they just build their own churches and start their own religion. Why do they have to tear us apart trying to fit their new wine in the old wineskin.
    The I read the rest of your post and, there you were.
    Love you,

  2. Anonymous6:09 PM

    Pewster. I notice you were taken with the 1958 positive marriage theology. I went to a more local parish this past Sunday so saw the Lambeth Conference ad (don't think my usual parish will have picked these up, but I could be wrong). Can hardly wait for the Curmudgeon to take Note II apart.