From Father Tom …

This coming Sunday we will gather outside church at 10:00 am. If you are coming please bring a chair and a mask.  The service will be basic and short. The bathrooms will be used for emergencies only.  We will do our best to see that everyone is protected according to current CDC guidelines.

Each week when I sit down to write this column I usually read the Gospel and have been posting it here. This week I’m actually preaching on it so I won’t hash it out again in my weekly message but I will share something that I feel is on my heart. It actually is a piece that didn’t fully make it into our homily for Sunday.

This last week I have been confronted with man’s inhumanity to man or to be more precise, man’s inhumanity to women.  Don’t worry I’m not talking about anyone in our congregation. If I thought it was you we’d talk.

In my studies in the School for Formation I learned that many times women were the witnesses and entrusted with great details of Jesus’ life, from being born to a virgin mother, Mary, to  his being raised from the tomb and appearing first to the women who came to prepare his body for burial and found the tomb open. 

The problem was who held the power in those days (in these two) and who crafted the story and allowed stories and facts to be told? I’ll spared you the suspense. It was men. And as such it was men who attached gender to God and allowed for us to hear the voices of certain figures in history and to suppress others. 

While many of us are quite familiar with the Torah, the first five books of the bible, (which some call the books of Moses) there are things foretold in these books that occurred even after his death, but it is fairly certain that it was written from the male persuasion. The apostle Paul is credited with 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament, and some think Luke wrote three of the Gospels.  You can research others on your own and find that very few women’s voices are heard in the bible, and yet they were present and contributed greatly to society.

I could find information on both sides that support that God has a male gender, a female gender and no gender as we know it.  What I am asking you to consider is the possibility that God may be both God, our father and God our mother.

I have seen some (mostly men) cringe or smirk when this point is made or brought up and I would ask that we as Episcopalians open our hearts and minds to this possibility and allow Bishop Curry’s mantra of “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God” to come through. Between my schooling with the School for Formation, my years of being a peace officer along and my years as part of this St. John’s community, I’ve come to learn that when we listen to simply listen not to immediately reply, we gain a better understanding of ourselves and each other.  I’m listening and learning.  We are many voices trying to be our best community.

Opening our hearts to a different way of seeing the world is what makes us who we are. Our God is an Awesome God; Father or Mother, Son and Holy Spirit!  Our female voices deserve as much space at the table as do any voices, and whether you refer to God as male or female I think God is big enough to handle it. The question is are we?

Fr. Tom 

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