Archive for October, 2014

Seeing A Sermon. Hearing a Sermon.

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Read yesterday, “I would prefer to SEE a sermon instead of just hearing a sermon.”  And then traveled to the Kensington section of Philly, “The Badlands” as they are known locally, to serve at the St. Francis Inn, a homeless shelter.   We served.  8 of us.

There is so much one could say.  My job .. to buss tables.  Clearing and cleaning up as several hundred folks moved through to a dinner of goulash, rolls, chips, and milk – strawberry, low fat, whole.  And in the middle – not a surprise – holding a tray, some tears.  There were kids.  Lots of kids.  Liam, 8 months, and others.  Barry.  Grey head of hair. Lots of smile.  The same name as my favorite uncle.

And much of formal church structures, for me, mired, at larger denominational levels in tired debates so far removed from this … from people, from suffering.  Pope Francis said good shepherds, good priests, must “smell of sheep,”  must pick up the ‘scent’ of those they serve.  Father Bill serving up the goulash did.  Tatalia, volunteering there for a year, did.   Those mired, tired debates that seek to hold women from ordination, or parse down small definitions of this word or that into an exactitude I wonder if was ever intended, don’t smell of sheep to me.

Does our life break open, our soul finally crackle with light, as we confront sin or suffering? 

I tire quickly of private morality and the games it plays under the guise of “God said.”  Of church as just that, nothing more. Church is infinitely more.. hearing sermons… the best of which are SEEN.  “Religion is of life.  And the life of religion is to do what is good.”