Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reflection on "Do the math, Dude" Sunday

It was a fully loaded 3rd Sunday of Advent at All Saints Church. The usual three morning services -- 7:30 , 9:00 & 11:15 -- in addition to a special celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the 1:00 and our special guest the Reverend Mpho Tutu ... who spoke in the Rector's Forum and celebrated at 9:00.

I read the gospel at 9:00 and while I was reading it -- in the middle of the aisle in the packed church -- I heard again in the opening pericope what I heard when Melissa read it at our staff Eucharist on Tuesday morning.
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent a message by his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the One who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: those who are blind recover their sight; those who cannot walk are able to walk; those with leprosy are cured; those who are deaf hear; the dead are raised to life; and those with no worldly resources have the Good News preached to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
Jesus may have said (at least according to Matthew) "... and blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me" ... but what I heard was "Do the math, Dude!"
I heard Jesus -- sending a message to his cousin, John -- basically saying the same thing that almost got him thrown off the cliff after his first sermon back in the home parish (at least according to Luke):
Remember all that stuff in Isaiah? The signs that kingdom was coming? The reign had been realized? It's here. It's now. It's fulfilled in your hearing. All those things are happening. "Am I the One who is to come?" Do the math, Dude!
Now, math has never been one of my strong suits. In fact I picked my major in college (history) because there was no math requirement. (Truth!!) But what I'm wondering tonight is how we're doing at the math Jesus was talking about. If someone came to us ... the church ... the Body of Christ in the world ... and said, "Are you the Ones who are to come or shall we wait for another?" what report would we send back? "Go and tell John ...." What? What would we tell him?
Are those blind to racism, sexism, homophobia and every-other tool of oppression and marginalization seeing any better because of us? Are those unable to walk for their fear, anxiety, or grief being given hope by the Good News we offer -- or are we too busy worrying about which Anglican will end up on which "tier" if this crazy Anglican Covenant materializes?
Are those with dread diseases being cured or are we still fighting over who deserves which health care plan as we watch our Congress deny medical care to 9/11 responders?
Any dead being raised to life ... or are we standing by while "kill the gays" bills make the news in Africa?
And those with no worldly resources ... are they hearing Good News or are they being sent away empty while the rich are filled with good things like tax cut extensions and estate tax breaks?
And so what I heard ... on this fully loaded 3rd Sunday of Advent in the aisle reading the Gospel According to Matthew at the 9:00 a.m. service was this:
"How are we doing on doing the math, dudes?"
(Something to think about ... even if math isn't your strong suit!)

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