Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday Sermons by Traveling Bishops

Given the reading this week, it wasn't surprising that the theme of "who is to be welcomed" reverberated as a starting point, although it went in different directions.

I was privileged to hear a sermon by Bishop Gene Robinson, who was visiting St Paul's Cathedral, San Diego. It's on line, as video or podcast, on the Cathedral's website here. He began with the Gospel story and used it to move on into reflections on "knowing the need for God". Rather than tell you more, I'll just send you to hear the Man Himself. (I'll tell you more later on about the two lectures Bishop Gene gave while at the Cathedral.)

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was also on the road, at Southwark Cathedral in England. The ENS has the text of her sermon, which shall we hope succeeded in speaking truth to power.

Here are some notable excerpts:
It's hard work to get to the point where you're able and willing to see the Lord of love in the odorous street person next to you in the pew. It can be just as hard to find him in the unwelcoming host.
The scorn that some are willing to heap on others because we think they've loved excessively or inappropriately is still pretty well known. Yet it is this woman's loving response to Jesus that brings her pardon, and Jesus' celebration of her right relationship with God. ....Fear is the only thing that keeps us from knowing God's love – and we most often discover it in the people around us. ....We can join that family if we're willing to let go of that fearful veneer of righteousness. It covers our yearning to be fully known, because we don't quite think we're lovable. That veneer is the only thing between us and a whole-hearted "welcome home." It's risky to let that veneer be peeled away, but all we risk is love.
Those who know the deep acceptance and love that come with healing and forgiveness can lose the defensive veneer that wants to shut out other sinners. They discover that covering their hair or hiding their tears or hoarding their rich perfume isn't the way that the beloved act, even if it makes others nervous. Eventually it may even cure the anxious of their own fear by drawing them toward a seat at that heavenly banquet. There's room for us all at this table, there are tears of welcome and a kiss for the wanderer, and the sweet smell of home.

Want to join the feast? You are welcome here. Love has saved you – go in peace. Lean over and say the same to three strangers: you are welcome here. Love has saved you – be at peace.
I wonder if anyone over there is listening? But full points to Bp Katharine for this one! It appears that she is on a roll...

UpdateHer words are particularly stinging given that she was denied the right to wear her mitre (although other American Bishops, including women, have done so while visiting the UK) and required to once again submit her paperwork proving her stages of ordination (even though she has done so previously). So petty, Archbishop. Was the little frisson of schadenfreude in attempting to insult her really worth mitregate?


Paul said...

June seems to be +Robinson's month for traveling. He will be preaching in Albuquerque on June 27th. The very fact that he his here must mean something, because this certainly would not have been permitted under +Theuner, and apparently did not happen under +Steenson. I am looking forward to this one, and will make sure the kids get to see him as well.

dr.primrose said...

According to Episcopal Cafe, the ABC barred the PB from wearing a mitre or carrying a crozier at the service - Rowan to Katharine: don't wear your mitre in England. The ABC is becoming a petty little man.

oldmiler said...

Indeed, +KJS was not permitted to vest as a Bishop of primate rank which she is. Her sermon was well crafted without that complication but made all the more meaningful by the immediate circumstances forced by ABC.
Which leads me to say that his attempts at leadership -- consistently clumsy and presumptuous -- are beginning to show more and more a misogynist thinking emerging out from behind that CofE puffery that is the public face of enforced closeting.

IT said...

oldmiler, I think that is it exactly. I think a large part of the vehemence against GLBT people is to cover up the less acceptable vehemence against women.

A wise man said that homophobia is only a room in the house of misogyny.