Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Week: The palms are drying out, the days are wearing on

The palms from last Sunday still adorn our worship space, but they are drying out and will soon disappear. The Cross will soon be veiled in black, but not yet.

St. Paul’s at mid-holy Week is a bustle of activity. Extra hands on Tuesday were cleaning floors. The office staff prepared newcomer packets for Sunday and attended to a thousand other details. I tried to stay out of the way by plugging away on a sermon in my office.

At noon, Father Nik led the Holy Eucharist in the Chapel. He read from a long gospel passage about Jesus teaching in the Temple, and then he bid us to sit in silence for a time to simply be in the presence of the Lord and relax for a few moments.

I welcomed the quiet respite for a time. My eyes focused on the palms behind the chapel altar (in the photograph at right). They look so dry now. The week is wearing on.

When we were through, I went back to my office to work on my sermon. But not getting much creative traction, I looked at my Facebook page. It was ablaze with red-and-pink equality icons.

Many of my friends and relatives had bannered their Facebook pages with the icon because The U.S. Supreme Court was hearing arguments Tuesday and Wednesday about whether gay people should have the same right to marry as straight people.

I’ve long supported marriage rights for all people – gay or straight. Marriage is for those who can make a serious commitment in love for life to their partner. Marriage, as the Book of Common Prayer states, is first and foremost for the “mutual joy” and support of those who make this commitment. Sexual orientation is beside the point, or ought to be.

There is nothing in the Bible that puts limits on God’s call to love-based marriage, but there is a great deal of bias in our culture that is against it. Our culture is shifting, and for the better. We’ll see if the Supreme Court agrees. I changed my profile picture to the red-and-pink equality icon; it seemed like the holy thing to do this Holy Week.

The week is wearing on. And all things will be made new (and sermons will be written).

By James Richardson, Fiat Lux

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