March 22: Lent 2020 #4

Layperson Lecture #8

To quote Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 1, “There is a time for every purpose under heaven.” So now it’s time for a Layperson Lecture! I’m Constance McEntee, seminary drop-out and the Idiot Before G0D.

The scripture selections for the fourth Sunday of Lent, 22 March 2020, come from LectionaryPage.net.

1 SAMUEL 16:1-13 tells the story of when the prophet Samuel was sent to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be king instead of Saul. From this, we see an example of things like “a child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6) and the “first shall be last and the last shall be first” (Matthew 20:16). What I take away from this selection is leaders can sometimes be found in unlikely places.

PSALM 23 is the famous “The Lord is my shepherd” psalm. If this psalm is about anything, it’s about keeping the faith. In a time when there is so much hoarding going on due to COVID-19, my faith in my neighbors is being put to the test.

EPHESIANS 5:8-14 has got some language which I find questionable in these modern times. I understand that light is used to mean clear and dark is used to mean hidden, but I’ve seen these metaphors twisted into racism all too easily. The selection seems to suggest we should be open about who we are and what we do. And so, I feel this speaks to those with the privilege to risk such openness.

The Gospel according to Saint JOHN 9:1-41 has what to my modern mind seems to be ableism and antisemitism. It’s the story of a blind man healed by Jesus. But, he’s described as being born blind to be an example of G0D’s glory. The gospel author is clear to make “the Jews” the villains in the story. And there’s another example of a person without power not being trusted to tell the truth. Blargh. Why do we insist on using scriptures written by and for a completely different culture? 

Anyway…

You know what? I don’t think there’s any really good way to do this. Blindness in the Bible is often used as a metaphor for a lack of knowing or understanding. I get that I’m not a first century CE Israelite, but this is just so darned ableist. Basically, this selection is saying to seek knowledge. My home county here in California is officially under quarantine and there’s a good deal of misinformation going around. We need to seek answers for reputable sources. I’m an amateur priest. I can try to help folks with their spiritual health. For their physical health, they need to be paying attention to healthcare professionals.

In CONCLUSION, we need to trust and have faith in each other, all the while discerning who might be the best sources of knowledge. Sometimes, the most knowledgeable persons might seem the least likely to us. We must also trust ourselves to question answers if they seem too easy.

I offer this BENEDICTION: have faith in the truth, however you might learn it, with the blessings of the Lover, the Beloved, and the Love Overflowing. Amen, and go with G0D.

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