by Helen King Spence, alternate lay deputy
With a little extra time here in the middle of the day, I will share with you my take on Bishop Curry’s amazing sermon yesterday, as well as the wonderful sermon from Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, current President of the House of Deputies.
Bishop Curry focused on the Isaiah 51 lesson to begin his sermon… “Look to the rock from which you were hewn.” When Isaiah wrote those words it was in the time of the Babylonian Diaspora – a strange and difficult time in the lives of the Israelis. We, too, are living in strange and difficult times – medically, politically, religiously and morally. Bishop Curry spoke of a recent poll of all different kinds of people with all different kinds of faith traditions, including folk who say they are atheist. In that poll, 84% of all the people who responded said that Jesus is an important prophet and worth paying attention to. That same poll indicated that 50% of those polled find Christians to be guilty of hypocracy (sic) and 48% find Christians to be judgmental. It behooves us who follow our Rock, Jesus Christ, to follow his commandment to us all, which is to love one another. We all know institutions have their own peculiarities, because they’re run by human beings. What I heard my Presiding Bishop say is that we, who have leadership in our various institutions need to be better human beings – and stand on the Rock, not the shifting sands of human frailty.
President Jennings gave a wonderful sermon focusing on Jesus’ call to Matthew, the tax collector, to become one of the twelve – and she used a beautiful painting by Caravaggio to illustrate her point that we all have a part in being disciples. Jesus, who comes to Matthew’s for dinner (invites himself, in fact), interrupts us on whatever course we’re on. God’s promptings to us are often disrupting to whatever life we’re leading at the time. Jesus was not a stranger to dangerous situations, but he did not let that stop him from doing what he needed to do – what he was called to do. The fact that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine should not deter us – the undivine – from hearing and heeding God’s calls to us.
There’s your theology lesson for today. For what it’s worth. My take.