Monday, January 09, 2006

From The Witness

Most of you probably read The Witness on a regular basis. For those who are not familiar with this publication that has "been examining the church and society in light of faith and conscience" since 1917, here is an excerpt from their "About Us" page:

...We are deeply committed to raising up the voices of people of faith throughout the world, particularly within the Anglican Communion, to consider justice and peace issues from a broad diversity of cultural and regional perspectives. We embrace the liberation perspective that flows from the very core of Christian belief and values. We side with Jesus' radical claim that every person, every creature, every part of creation belongs to God and deserves the deepest respect and care.
Last month, Sarah Dylan Breuer was named as the new editor of The Witness. Many of us have grown to appreciate Dylan's gifts through reading her insights on the Sunday lessons posted weekly on Dylan's Lectionary Blog. Last September, Dylan was appointed to the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, which is charged with "preparing the way for General Convention to receive and respond to the Windsor Report." With Dylan at the helm, there is no doubt that The Witness will continue to be a valuable resource which we will need to watch closely.

I was recently honored to be asked to make a small contribution to this publication. Not being much of a scholar, and a lightweight theologian at best, I hesitated at first, feeling such an assignment was really out of my league. Then I noted the way it was described in the ENS article, as "a feisty and opinionated journal." Feisty and opinionated? Hey, I can do that!

So, I offer a reflection on the lessons for 2 Epiphany, focusing on the encounter between Nathanael and Jesus; An Antidote to Prejudice's Poison. Here's an excerpt:

...Jesus is amused by this sudden transformation. "You will see greater things than these," he tells him. "You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." Nathanael would have recognized the reference to the story of Jacob's dream of a ladder stretching from earth to heaven. Jacob, the original "Israelite," was quite the rascal, yet was blessed by God. It might just be possible that even a bigot like Nathanael, a tax collector like Matthew, a hothead like Peter, or a sinner like you and me could also be blessed by God and become a follower of the Messiah...
Not terribly scholarly, or theologically profound. But a bit feisty and opinionated it is.

Writing this reflection became an unexpected blessing, as it forced me to struggle with some of the ugly stuff that churns about within me. And, a big plus; most of my preparation for next Sunday's sermon is already done!


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