This is the day that the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice in it, and be glad.
Today Paul is telling the Christians in Corinth that he serves Christ, and the following struck me, after recently watching ‘The Ciderhouse Rules’ with its intertwined messages about abortion and possible suicide, as well as redemptive selfsacrifice :-
Paul says to the Christian Corinthians:
You are kings…
which the doctor in The Ciderhouse Rules echoes with his
“Goodnight, you kings of New England, you princes of Maine!”
I may have that messed up, apologies for a faulty memory. But I love that message in general; we do love that message to the children, as they chuckle in their beds.
Paul contrasts the apostolic role to that of the ordinary person, saying about the former:
…we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things.
Such is the deeply felt position of all true leaders, all prophets, all saints, all true heroes even of our latter times. It is the burden they carry, as does the doctor in the movie, and in the end, the father who has sinned greatly as well – a burden some souls in our time find too impossibly great and to our sorrow they are taken from us long before we are ready to say goodbye.
The Gospel reading that attends this message in my Old Church calendar this morning is short; I give only the first part:
And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and kneeling before him said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him…“
To me, this speaks to the soul/spirit burden of ministering souls among us (who are on the hard road to enlightenment, yet still only human). In the Gospel story, the disciples come to Jesus after the incident and ask, privately, “Why couldn’t we heal the boy?” The answer is given:
“Because of your little faith.” [Matt. 17:20]
Thinking again of the movie, the true kings of the earth are indeed the children, for they have great faith, and their parents through their parenting then also have access to that faith, even when they themselves have sinned terribly – in the Gospel the father, who had been disappointed in the failure of the disciples of Jesus, persisted, as parents must, in his quest to save his son. In the movie, the father who has sinned greatly also persists in his quest, and ultimately recognizes her departing, violent act as his.
Sure, it’s ‘only a movie’ – as Scripture is ‘only God talk.’
But still . . . Goodnight, all you precious kings of all the earth, you princes of Gaia.