If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know that when I was ordained, I took a vow to “be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them” (BCP, 526). I take this vow very seriously, and though I’ve been known to skirt a rubric every once in a while, I’m not apt to do so without careful theological reflection. That being said, I really want to invoke the opinion of the Dean of the School of Theology at Sewanee who says that the Book of Common Prayer ends on page 808 and consider the rubrics concerning the Lectionary “back matter.” I’m especially interested in the penultimate line on page 888 which reads, “Any Reading may be lengthened at discretion.” Oh how I wish that it said “Any Reading may be shortened or lengthened at discretion.” I’d cut verses 16-19 and 25-27 from this Sunday’s Gospel lesson.
In the final part of Sunday’s lesson, Jesus promises that his yoke is easy and his burden is light, but I’m not sure that can be true given his prayer to the Father, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent” and the bit about children making fun of each other in the market place. The latter is so culturally dependent as to be impossible to not misunderstand and the former sounds so very closed minded and Gnostic. Thankfully, I’m not left to my own devices and by virtue of my ordination vows, I’m required to deal with the tough stuff from Jesus and not just preach fluff.
I was sharing all this with my Rector who chuckled and said, “what if God is hiding the Kingdom so we’re intentional about looking for it?” This is, I think, a great word for anyone who would take seriously the task of preaching the Gospel this week. Are we being intentional about seeking out the kingdom – sifting through and learning from the hard stuff as well? Or, are have we settled into a yoke that’s too easy and a burden too light?