Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2012.07.04 Tender Icon of Hope

Worship in London on Sunday before we left for home was beautiful, although full as always with He's and he's and Hims...and lots of Fathers. 
The parish, All Saints Margaret St. does not let women priests celebrate. Clergy are working on it slowly but surely. Building rehab came first of course. And it is elegant.
I tell you, despite great music uplift and Eucharist and a good sermon,  I felt excluded from both humanity and divinity by the all-male language for things holy/godly.
And there was the gospel read from Mark, chapter 5,  in which Jesus heals the daughter of Jairus, president of the local synagogue,  and calls the girl "daughter" .......AND the hemorrhaging woman whom he also restores to health and the human community. TWO females included into community, religious and social.  So what is wrong with this picture in so many of our churches?  
I do think it will take a healing miracle of Jesus to bust up two of the two most recalcitrant idols in most liturgical churches: pews and language.  Social justice thrives outside the walls, but what about justice in the worship language?  OK, my soapbox again. 
I was myself healed from my ire as my attention was captivated watching a young family with 2 small daughters, maybe 4 and 2.  And a baby doll.  The 4year old cared for her baby and never complained. The 2 year old slept and only peeped when Mom tried to apply a brush to her knotted hair. She deftly avoided the brush by swiveling her head fast.  
The 4 year old in time asked her dad to lift her up so she could see. Her attention was riveted on the lovely statue in front of her of the BVM (not the latest car but, for those who might not know, the Blessed Virgin Mary.)
The statue represents Mary as Queen of Heaven all crowned and majestic, her right arm supporting Jesus, of toddler age. He holds an orb as if it were his ball to play with and his right foot and right hand swing out and point outward towards the observer. Go!  
The little girl began to swing her foot in and out, (imitatio dei,) a feat that looks easy in statuary but didn't quite work for Daddy's grasp.  Down she came but later Daddy took her up to see the votive candles in front of the Mary and Jesus statue and with great patience and care showed her how to light a small candle carefully, then place her coin in the slot.  She nodded vigorously and pointed up to Mary.  She knew something. God knows what:)
Flesh and blood icons are the best.
Happy and blessed American Independence Day. We are lucky. Despite my critiques I am patriotic.  America, home of the mostly free and the occasionally brave, my home.  We struggle still with the vision of equity and democracy
And pray for peace and inter-dependence for Israelis and Palestinians......... and for all those who have courage to serve their country and still ask dream of a war-free peace.