Jan. 23, 2022
The 1928 Book of Common Prayer shows two readings for this Third Sunday in Epiphany. The St. John reading is in regard to ‘the woman at the well’ that has been discussed and dissected in a million Bible studies everywhere. So we’ll look at the St. James verses which may not be quite so familiar to everyone.
A couple of years ago, I saw on YouTube, a group of young adults who were tattooed. Not nice little dolphins or rainbows or flowers; no, they had had their faces tattooed with terrible things. One young woman – so pretty and sparkling eyes … had the ‘f’ word tattooed under one eye and ‘you’ under the other … as well as other things. Her picture brought tears to my eyes. How much loathing for oneself must one have to do such a thing? They say the eyes are the windows to the soul – what had happened in this young woman’s life that she wanted those words to be the window dressing?
We tend to accept tattooes on men a little easier (at least those of us of a ‘certain age’) but the young men had so deformed their appearances to be frightening beyond what one would expect. These are the faces their children see; the faces their grandchildren will see. Why, heavenly Father? Why?
“3And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:” What would happen if one of these people came to church? How would they be greeted? Where would the ushers encourage them to sit? Would they be welcomed at coffee hour? Would we be able to look them straight in the eye and ignore the ink covering their faces?
That’s what we are called to do. Welcome, feed, embrace those that are different or ‘other’. I pray God that we have learned at the feet of Jesus to see the person and not the things that may cause us to shrink from them. There but for the grace of God go I.