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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

World Communion Sunday: Here's to Life


10/7





Today is World Communion Sunday.

I’m very happy to see Andre when I walk into the church. I say, O my God...and he replies, No, O my Andre.......

Luisa has brought white roses in honor of her officially joining the church. A young woman walks in, sits and waits, leaves. Wish our people could get here on time. 

Today’s Gospel passage, Mark 10: 2-16, is a tough one. So let’s get right to it. It’s the  kind of passage that  makes you go whoa....it sounds pretty straight and clear..This passage is why Catholics don’t allow divorce...A couple of weeks ago I met a bride’s father who after 25 years, had his marriage to a Muslim woman annulled. Like it never happened. And also why for years a Presbyterian minister couldn’t be divorced...And why still in my lifetime you couldn’t be divorced and be President.

But which one of hasn’t been touched by divorce? A friend? Family member? Ourselves

So let’s go deeper...Jesus says Moses’ laws were given  to help us...because of our hardness of heart, our imperfection...but looking deeper, we see that Moses’ law applied only to  men...but Jesus extends the right to divorce to women as well. 

I’ve also learned over the years that the language from weddings, the death til us part......stays true regardless, more than you might think...Even after legal divorce,something underneath, a connection remains. 

We need to remember, love defining marriage is NEW in our cultures.....We can ask of course what is oneness, that is what does it mean for two people to become one......at it’s heart is the idea that it’s better to not be alone...

(Let me also add parenthetically that I’ve been impressed that young people planning their weddings now are asking for the language of two people, not a man and a woman...marriage equality is becoming a core value even for straight couples....)

The Jesus I know understands our fallibility. Over and over again, Jesus helped people get on with their life, seek forgiveness and forgive...pick up the pieces and go on..That is why in our tradition, marriage is a covenant, not a sacrament. We believe that two people marry each other, not the minister. My role is that of facilitator, not mediator between people and God. We fallible human beings marry each other and do our best to make it work....

It’s also part of this discussion that we break covenants, God doesn’t. Jesus
overturns patriarchal relationships, elevates the bottom...women have the same rights and responsibilities as men,...In his day, this was revolutionary....it is about greater equality...radical hospitality..and protecting women from economic vulnerability from abandonment..

And think about this....Not one marriage in the Bible meets the standard of what people call Biblical marriage...It’s not meant to be a political football or a means by which we judge others...not with the Jesus we know. 

Remember...it was the woman at the well, who had five husbands, who becomes the first evangelist....

And underlying all this is Jesus reference  to children and vulnerability again...we have to see this passage in that context...

So what does this have to do with world wide  communion? Across the whole world, we are a gathering of sinners...for us, there is no possibility to judge....ever....

Psalm 26...with it’s self-righteousness is what my colleague Chris at Broadway Church calls a psalm of arrogance...(could it be the psalm of Job?) The fact is, as opposed to the psalm, Jesus always sits with the worthless....and is always  in the company of evildoers....

That’s what following Jesus means....here and around the world....

Luisa and Glen (with Harry and Tony)
Following the reflection, we joyfully welcome Glen and Luisa to our fellowship. 

Blessings for Toto, Tony and Harry
As is our tradition, people have brought breads from their traditions to share...John R Spanish crackers, Don Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels...(like arms folded in prayer, originally made for Lent....), Marsha cornbread from Texas. And I bring a round challah, egg bread, in honor of the Jewish New Year, round like the circle of years and time. We gather around the table to share bread and cup. Something happened...Jamie says for the first time, it felt consecrated.  And afterwards, in honor of St. Francis day, I bless three beloved pet dogs who have joined us today.

Andre at the piano
Andre finishes our service by sitting at the piano and playing his signature song, his mission statement, the song he sang for us that first Sunday after 9-11, Here’s to Life:

No complaints and no regrets
I still believe in chasing dreams and placing bets
For I have learn that all you give is all you get
So give it all you’ve got
I had my share, I drank my fill
And even though I’m satisfied,
I’m hungry still.
To see what’s down another road beyond the hill
And do it all again

So here’s to life,
And all the joy it brings.
Yes, here’s to life
And dreamers and their dreams

Funny, funny how the time just flies
How love can go from warm and those to sad goodbyes
And leave you with the memories you memorize
To keep your winters warm
How love can turn from warm hellos to sad goodbyes
And leave you with the memories you’ve memorized
To keep your winters warm.

There’s no yes in yesterday
And who knows what tomorrow brings or takes away
As long as I’m still in the game I want to play
For laughs, for life, for love.
So here’s to life and all the joy it brings
Yes, here’s to life
And dreamers and their dreams
May all your storms be weathered
And all that’s good get better

Here’s to life, here’s to love, here’s to you.
May all your storms be weathered
And all that’s good get better
Here’s to life, here’s to love, here’s to you.

May all your storms be weathered
And all that’s good get better
Here’s to life, here’s to love, here’s to you. 

At first we are quiet, then, applause...and we head upstairs to share our breads and the rice and beans and empanadas brought by Luisa....We are together. And we feel blessed. That is communion...

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