The Smiling Heretic's Blog

Pentecost 2 :: Faith in action

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“He is worthy of having you do this for him…”

Of course he is!

In St. Luke’s Gospel, some Jewish authorities have approached Jesus with a plea to go and heal the slave of a Roman Centurion. Now this is a rather odd thing for them to do. Even odder is what they say to Jesus: “He is worthy of having you do this for him.” You see, Roman Centurions were the bad guys. They were the ones who maintained order in the quasi-police state of Israel. Theirs was an occupied country. And the Centurions—feared soldiers of Imperial Rome—were the ones who made sure that the residents were kept in line. And even though this particular Roman “peacekeeper” helped to build a synagogue for the local community, to view him and others like him as worthy of anything but contempt would’ve been something of a stretch.

Trinity Sunday :: Happy Rainbow Day!


Several weeks ago, during coffee hour, I happen to be visiting with several young ladies of the parish. Now, being old and quite forgetful, I cannot remember the conversation, but I do recall there being some talk of unicorns and sparkles and rainbows. It was during this conversation that Klara opined that it might be nice to have “Rainbow” day in church sometime. I told her that was a fine idea [or something to that effect] and that we should celebrate said “Day” on the 22nd of May, the Sunday we set aside to celebrate the end of the church school year.

Fine. Good. But, did I remember that the 22nd was also Trinity Sunday? Nope. Oh well.

So here we are on 22 May, the day the church celebrates one of the most enigmatic theological propositions of all time: Trinity Sunday. God as Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier. Rainbow maker!

Pentecost :: Can’t get no satisfaction!

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Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” [John 14.18] 

Really Philip? Will you now finally be satisfied? It’s not like Jesus hasn’t shown you his Father—God—all this time. It’s not like everything Jesus has said, done, or taught wasn’t directly from God. And were you satisfied with that, Philip? Or Peter, James, John, Andrew? Or you, Thomas, were you satisfied? 

I vividly recall those nights long ago when I, as a teenager, would lie awake in bed waiting for some sign from God that everything was going to be alright. Or that God really did exist and really did love me. Or that just this once, I could make a good grade on a test I hadn’t studied for. Lightning. Is that such a difficult thing for God to conjure up to prove that I was on the right track in my belief? Nothing big. Just a little flash to let me know that God was real. Show me lightning, God, and I will be satisfied. 

Easter 7 :: Relationship-in-Community

A clergyman once remarked to Sir John Barbirolli how he wished he could fill his church building the way Sir John and the Halle Orchestra filled every seat of a large concert hall.  The conductor replied, "You could, if you had a hundred members who worked together as well as the members of this orchestra."

In our fairly short passage this week from St. John’s Gospel, we hear the word “one” four times and some form of the word “love” five times. It is evident from this [and from many other similar passages in the Gospels] that Jesus’ prime desire for the friends he was going to be leaving behind, was that they live into their oneness as a community grounded in love. This being one-in-love comes from the example set forth for them [and us!] by Jesus’ close relationship with God the Father. The unity of the Godhead is grounded in the love shared among and between the three persons of the Holy Trinity: Creator God, Redeemer Christ, and Sustainer/Advocate Spirit. Their perfect relationship-in-community provides the example for all meaningful models of community.

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