Tuesday, June 2, 2015

But Now What?

This Sunday begins the summer kerfuffle known as "Track 1 or Track 2?" We are a Track 2 parish. That might change someday, but not yet. I like gospel-related OT texts. Even if the preacher is not going to talk about the OT lesson, I like it when it hangs together with the other lessons. Plus, how many parishioners are here every single week during the summer to truly appreciate the continuous track through the OT that is Track 1? At the last General Convention, I voted against allowing parishes to go back to the old BCP lectionary--not because I don't like the old lectionary (why do you think we use Track 2?) but because I think all of us in the Episcopal Church should be focusing on the same lessons every week. Now that we're in the season of bifurcated OT lessons, half of the blog posts out there are on texts or hymns that we won't be using. (And God knows I need all the help I can get!)

If you're in a Track 2 parish, here's what you'll hear on Sunday:
The man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" He said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
Of course, it's the story of the reckoning after the Fall in the Garden of Eden. It's a great passage about passing the buck as Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent. We all know how the story ends--with Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden--but we won't hear that this Sunday. Instead, the story just sort of stops after God curses the serpent.

Using the rubrics in the BCP. I could ask that the lesson be lengthened to include God's curse on Eve and all women and upon Adam and all men, but I kind of like leaving it unfinished. Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent. God punishes the serpent. And then what?

Not long ago, my middle child did something wholly inappropriate and potentially dangerous in a grocery store. I called him over to me, and I made him stand right next to me. He knew he was in trouble, but I didn't yell or correct him in that moment. Instead, we walked briskly out to the car, and be buckled into his seat. But, as soon as the car doors were shut, I let him know exactly what I thought about it. He melted on the spot. It was as if he knew he should be in trouble but then seemed to escape the trouble only to find that it caught up with him again. That's how I feel this Sunday.

There's something human about passing the buck and thinking we've escaped, but, even though it's not in Sunday's lesson, we all know that it catches up with us in the end. Yes, my wife is 33 weeks pregnant, and, no, I'm not going to remind her that all this pain and discomfort is Eve's fault. But we know those consequences catch up with us. I'm not planning on preaching from silence--building a sermon around what isn't being read--but I think leaving the lesson unfinished--maybe with a long pause before the Psalm--says something important about the human condition.

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