WeeklyLectionaryWebinar Readings for Sunday, June 26, 2011 Presented by staff and friends of Sunshine Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church affiliated with the Center for Progressive Christianity Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Contributors Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin Sunshine Cathedral Chief Programming Minister Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Senior Pastor Sunshine Cathedral Rev. Dr. Mona West Director, Office of Formation and Leadership Development Metropolitan Community Churches Rev. BK Hipsher Virtual Chaplain Sunshine Cathedral Director of Sunshine Cathedral in Second Life Rev. Brian Hutchison Sunshine Cathedral Director of Volunteer Ministries & Assistant to the Senior Pastor
Weekly Theme Second Sunday after Pentecost & Pride Sunday
First Reading Psalm 13.2b-3, 5-6 How long will my enemy triumph over me? 3 Look on me and answer, Oh my God. 5 I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing my God’s praise, for God has been good to me.
Second Reading The Wisdom of Soulforce Founder, Rev. Dr. Mel White As you may know, biblical ignorance is an epidemic in the United States. A study quoted by [the recently departed] Rev. Peter Gomes…found that 38% of Americans polled were certain that the Old Testament was written a few years after Jesus’ death. 10% believed Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. Many even thought the epistles were the wives of the apostles.
Second Reading The Wisdom of Soulforce Founder, Rev. Dr. Mel White … continued This same kind of biblical ignorance is all too present around the topic of homosexuality. Often people who love and trust [Scripture] have never given careful and prayerful attention to what the bible does or doesn’t say about homosexuality. For example, many Christians don’t know that: Jesus says nothing about same-sex behavior. The Jewish prophets are silent about homosexuality. Only six or seven of the bible’s one million verses refer to same-sex behavior in any way and NONE of these verse refer to homosexual orientation as it’s understood today.
Second Reading The Wisdom of Soulforce Founder, Rev. Dr. Mel White … continued Most people who are certain they know what the bible says about homosexuality don’t know where the verse that references same-sex behavior can be found. They haven’t read them, let alone studied them carefully. They don’t know the original meaning of the words in Hebrew or Greek. And they haven’t tried to understand the historical context in which those words were written. Yet the assumption that the bible condemns homosexuality is passed down from generation to generation with very little personal study or research. The consequences of this misinformation are disastrous, not only for God’s gay and lesbian children, but for the entire church.
Gospel Reading Matthew 10.40-42 (NIV) 40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
Reflections Rev. BK Hipsher Ponderings • Counting our Blessings – It does get better • What does it mean to really trust God? • How do we know what the “Bible says?” Take Back the Word • How are we to treat each other? • The “fragile art” of hospitality – intent / impact • Jesus was not ambiguous about welcoming the stranger, the other
Reflections Rev. Brian Hutchison Queering the Text • Psalm 13 A Queer Lament • “How long will my enemy triumph over me?” is the Lament of the Oppressed. • “How long will the bully continue to make my life miserable?”“How long will the ignorant vote against my rights?”“How long will heterosupremacy be considered normal?”“How long will patriarchy / male supremacy continue to reign?”“How long will enforcement of the binary gender system push people into unauthentic lives?”“How long will hate crimes continue to happen?”“How long until we find a cure for HIV/AIDS?” • Until the oppressor embraces an ethic of love over dominance, oppression continues. Sometimes, as at the Stonewall Riots, we must take our wellbeing into our own hands. This requires an affirmation that our liberation is worth fighting for. And this requires trust that Steadfast Love will see us through.
Reflections Rev. Brian Hutchison Queering the Text • Matthew 10:40-42 Jesus’ Radical Welcome • “An authentic ethic of inclusion must reach from the center to the farthest margin and work its way back. When we reach for the ones who are the least accepted, we give a clear message of welcome to everyone, Jesus modeled this type of radical inclusivity when he openly received those most despised by society and the religious establishment.” Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder Where the Edge Gathers: Building a Community of Radical Inclusion • Who are we not fully welcoming in our churches? Transgender people who don’t “pass” for one gender or the other within the binary gender system? Gender-queer people who dismiss the binary gender system intentionally? Leather folk? Polyamorous families? People of lower economic status? People of color? Women? Young people? Seniors? Differently abled people? As we welcome all of these people, we welcome Christ among us.
Reflections Rev. Brian Hutchison Queering the Text • Matthew 10:40-42 Jesus’ Radical Welcome • Accept each person for their spiritual gifts regardless of their identities, and you will be spiritually rewarded. • “Anyone who welcomes a prophet because s/he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward…” • Anyone who welcomes a clergyperson because s/he is called to be a clergyperson will receive the fruits of a clergyperson’s gifts and talents. • Several of the largest US mainline denominations now ordain LGBT clergy (UCC, ECA, PCUSA, ELCA). They have chosen to welcome us because they recognize our gifts and our call. When will others recognize that LGBT identities do not inhibit ministry?
Reflections Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins A Theological Reflection Psalm 13 Rabbi Harold Kushner has said that if the rest of the bible can be thought of as the word “of” God, the Psalms are the word “to” God. So often we see in the Psalms the writer acknowledging a feeling (sometimes a negative feeling such as fear, regret, rage, or even hatred) and by being honest with the feeling and offering it to God in prayer, the writer works through the emotion and winds up embracing new hope. We see this in Psalm 13 as the writer admits frustration with adversaries. The writer then asks a Higher Power for assistance and follows that with an affirmative declaration: “I trust in your unfailing love.” That leads to a sense of optimism and gratitude (“my heart rejoices…I will sing praises for God has been good to me”). For “Pride” Sunday, we can take our frustrations and our hopes into the practice of prayer and find renewed confidence, determination, gratitude and joy for the justice work we still are called to do.
Reflections Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins A Theological Reflection Matthew 10 Noohra Foundation founder (and expert on Aramaic language and idioms) Rocco Errico says in his commentary on Matthew’s gospel that this passage is about the act of generosity. He writes, “When receiving anyone whether good or bad, the reward remains the same; it is the act that counts. It is just like God, who sends…rain upon the just and the unjust and lets [the] sun shine on the good and the bad.” The focus isn’t on the reliability of Jesus or his disciples but on the goodness of the one who takes a chance that they might be the real deal, and who knows they are worth acts of kindness or hospitality in any case. The one who gives is a giver, and we are told that whatever we sow is what we can expect to reap. Being generous affirms our goodness, just as prejudging or excluding others shows that we are not yet as spiritually mature as we aspire to be.
Reflections Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins A Theological Reflection Errico also points out that “little ones” has a double meaning. It can mean either “child” or someone without status. In some ancient cultures (and, frankly, in our contemporary world as well), it was common for people to only do favors for people who could return the favor. It was (and is) less common for people to extend generosity to those who are unlikely to be able to ever repay. Children, the poor, the chronically ill, and all who might find themselves in the margins would be such “common” or “little” folk. Often, the “little” people were not welcome in the presence of the wealthy, the government leaders, or highly regarded spiritual teachers. But in Jesus’ theology (and social outlook), every person is a child of God and therefore every person has merit and worth. Kindness, compassion, and goodwill should be extended to everyone regardless of economic status, race, ethnicity, age, and by extension of the reasoning, sexual orientation. To Jesus, justice isn’t a privilege, but a universal right.
Reflections Rev. Dr. Mona West Going Deeper with the Text Psalm 13 · In the midst of the enemies triumph (homophobia for Queer folk) the psalmist still trusts in God’s unfailing love and rejoices in God’s salvation. Other’s hatefulness will not nullify God’s love for us.
Reflections Rev. Dr. Mona West Going Deeper with the Text Mel White · The Wesleyan Quadrilateral claims that there are four sources for moral and ethical discernment: scripture, tradition, reason and experience. · Experience, according to many ethicists, is primary. There is our formative experience which is entwined often with church/religious tradition and there is transformative experience that comes about when a story is shared or a situation encountered that causes one to move to a different place in their thinking (and condemenation).
Reflections Rev. Dr. Mona West Going Deeper with the Text Matthew 10:40-42 · Welcome is the same as hospitality. Henri Nouwen claimed that in order to truly welcome another we must first be at home in ourselves. · This kind of welcome is more that acceptance or tokenism. It is a willingness to be changed by those we welcome.
Weekly Theme Second Sunday after Pentecost & Pride Sunday
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