Pentecost + 16 - Year C
Just how small a percentage makes something invisible or is an acceptable loss or collateral damage? Is it 50% (children), 10% (coins), 1% (sheep), 0% (sparrow/hair)? Homeopathically, is there such a thing as too much dilution?
This last week I received a church newsletter in which the pastor's column echoed the grumbling of the Pharisees and scribes. It seems that, for this pastor, some "original revelation", confirmed by later creedal/legal formulations, should have kept the ELCA and Episcopal Church, and all others, from self-destructing (his analysis) over "homosexuality". He claimed that schism over a mere 1% of the population, gay men and lesbians, wasn't worth the loss of church unity. Yes, I responded as softly as I could [that his work with a majority 99 would bear much good fruit and that my work with a minority of 1 would bear much good fruit] and hope you will continue to respond to such statements that come your way - letting them go by does no one any good.
Definition of "neighbor" seems to be an on-going issue in our lives. We cycle through which group is currently not included in that understanding. How near a dweller does one have to be to be a neighbor? Do they need to have 100% of the same characteristics as myself? How about 75% of a religious belief? 50% of cultural referents? 25% of food preferences? 10% of disposable resources? 1% of humor style? Less than 1% of a political bias? At one point or another we have drawn circles to keep everyone out. How very Jr. Hi. of us. Corporately, a lack of neighborliness keeps us less than the sum of our parts.
The passage moves from grumbling to celebration, rejoicing, and a question for us is how we might do the same - individually and communally?
Where was the turning point for you? Was it in the finding (at the end point)? Was it in the anticipation of a welcoming (that which can't yet be seen)? Somewhere between?
As this is being jotted my mother is completing her journey amidst us. Breathing is erratic. Some are hanging on every breath. Others are away enjoying a beautiful day. Will there still be neighborliness, given different choices, when all is said and done and immediate tears wiped away? Will a blame spot be chosen to set up one way of responding being the right way? Will we appreciate different gifts and needs and stages of faith? Will lamps be lit [resources, time, and energy used] to bring together all those who have been dropped along the way.