Monday, November 13, 2017

The Lessons of the Bridesmaids

Usually, when I'm in charge at church, I dress up a little bit more.  Never with hose or high heels--we do live in Florida, after all.  But usually a skirt and jewelry and a bit more make up--it's as if I can hear my grandmother clucking her disapproval, and I hope that the correct, modest clothing will appease her.

Once when I visited her, at some point during the early 1990's, she was very upset over a woman who wore blue jeans up to the altar rail to take communion.  Until I heard her, it never would have occurred to me that anyone would take offense with blue jeans, unless they were dirty from gardening.

Yesterday I knew that I would be the only one there opening up the church, unlike usual, when there's at least 2 of us.  I decided to wear pants and running shoes.  I would be keeping the church locked until parishioners showed up, but I still wanted an extra layer of safety.

I try to always keep one eye towards my personal safety, but recent events have left me feeling frazzled:  so many mass shootings, so many stories of sexual abuse and harassment.  And so, I dressed for safety and comfort (my feet and back have been aching).

I tied our current events and my sartorial choices into the Gospel of Matthew.  I reminded parishioners that Matthew was writing for times very similar to ours.  In 80 or 90 AD, the Roman empire had begun crack downs, and in 70, the temple had been destroyed.  People were having to figure out how to live in a present time period which was very different from what they had been expecting.

Who among us cannot relate?

We looked at the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids--the wise ones brought extra oil for their lamps, while the foolish ones did not.  The ending of that parable seems relevant for our time (and for most times throughout human history):  stay alert.

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