Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fear not!

Katie Sherrod reports at Walking With Integrity:
It was a lovely evening, St. Mary's Church Putney was crammed full, the music was beautiful, and there he stood, all alone in front of the altar.

He bowed his head and said, "Lord, I feel like a boy."

It was a reference to the reading from Jeremiah 1.4-9, read by Susan Russell.

As he spoke, the roar of cameras clicking and the strobe of camera flashes filled the sacred space as the still photographers of the secular press took advantage of the 90 seconds granted them to take photos of the bishop of New Hampshire doing this radical thing -- preaching in a church in England.

The people listening were not distracted by the flashes and the noise. They were focused on Gene Robinson. The reaction of many to his simple words, "Lord, I feel like a boy," was immediate and powerful. Some closed their eyes. Some wiped their eyes. Some bowed their heads. Several nodded.

After the photographers were escorted out, he continued."There is a lot of fear around. Have you noticed?" More nods.

He mentioned fears of terrorist attacks, fears of losing one's job, fears about the economy.

"Fear does terrible things" to people, he said.

Just about then, a heckler stood up in the second row and began shouting at the bishop, who stepped back, folded his hands and stood in silence. People near the man tried to silence him, and others began a steady clapping to drown him out. Then the choir started singing a hymn and the congregation joined in. By this time the man was being led -- fairly gently, but firmly -- out of the sanctuary.

Unknowingly, and certainly unintentionally, this man had provided a perfect illustration of the power of fear to cause people to do unloving things to the object of their fears -- to "the other."

Read it all here.

Read the words of someone whose love of God does cast out all fear.

The video of the sermon will be here and here soon.

Mad Priest has the news video here

UPDATE: sermon is HERE. See the whole enchilada.


Fred Schwartz said...

Just for this occasion!


Jesus bleibet meine Freude,
Er ist Herzens Trost und Saft.

We will love or we will perish.
We will learn the rainbow to cherish.

Dare to struggle, dare to danger,
Dare to touch the hand of a stranger.

Dare to struggle, dare to danger,
Dare to touch the soul of a stranger.

Music by Johann Sebastian Bach (1716)
Arranged with English words by Pete Seeger (1989)
(c) 1993 by Stormking Music Inc.

fs said...

Beautiful story. God certainly picked the right man for the job. Thanks for posting it, Ann.

And thank you, Fred. I hadn't known that Pete Seeger wrote English words for Bach's Jesu. Very nice.

Lynn said...

Despite the sadness of that hateful eruption - isn't it impressive how everyone started clapping, almost immediately, to drown the young man's words. He wanted to cower and frighten them, and they barely blinked in the moment of crisis. God's love WINS!

You gotta love Anglicans - they always know the organ starting up is a cue to stand up.

Thanks for the post, and Katie S. for the reporting.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Tasteful, but more than that...appropriately resistive...a really good illustration from all ends of the outburst...oddly, I feel sorta like the screamer (with a better haircut/clothes)...only my screaming would be directed at Akinola, Orombi, Anderson and I suppose the turned down unpleasant little grimster face/mouth of Duncan Pitts...Shofield I would just gag (for more than one reason) but insert breathing tubes.

Surely, better judgment will come my way at some I stop giving these non-gents powers that they not only don't have but don't deserve.

Lord Hear My Prayer

David said...

Dang but I loved this story! +Gene got me tear-y eyed and I wasn't even in the audience :)

Ann said...

More Gene - with Ian - at the movie premiere tonight

Mark said...

The pain, compassion -- and gratitude -- on Gene's face spoke far more than that rather greasy boy.

Lord, break the hearts of stone.

Doorman-Priest said...

Good choice of hymn to drown out the heckler. Shades of Gafcon.