The idea is simple, but ideas by themselves are incomplete. To come alive and reach their fullness, Episcopal schools are centered in the conviction that ideas and ideals like goodness must take on flesh and become part of our everyday lives and practices. In the language of faith, goodness must become incarnational.
We forget how sharp the pain of grief is until we suffer a beloved’s death again.
Sorrow so deep we are certain we can’t sustain it and survive. We can’t breathe, or eat or sleep. Our bodies curl upon themselves, teeth clench, lungs and limbs quiver when we try to move. We can’t speak or listen or think. We sometimes feel we want to go down to the grave with our loved one.
Last week during our spiritual direction supervision meeting, one of my colleagues read a confession. She talked about feeling totally listless, gray. About how she cannot force herself to pray, how her exercise program has gone out the window and she finds herself turning on the TV too often, watching too much “news” and other empty programming. At several points as I listened I found myself silently affirming, “I do that, too.”
The story of Jesus going through the cornfield reminded me of September, even though I’m a few miles from the nearest cornfield, which will soon be a Halloween maze. Corn is always a welcome food, boiled, grilled, creamed, or used in succotash or cottage pie. It’s best when it’s fresh, and people in the store rummage through the bins of unshucked corn, checking for readiness. The disciples must have found ripe corn or even corn beginning to dry on the stalk because they rubbed the ears in their hands to loosen the corn for eating.
This woman is an outsider on three important levels. First, she is a woman, approaching a strange man whom she does not know. Second, she is a Gentile, of Phoenician and Syrian heritage. Third, the inhabitants of the region of Tyre were typically prosperous, as it was a busy trading hub with a highly lucrative economy as compared to the poorer agricultural area from which Jesus came around Galilee, and so its inhabitants were often looked upon with resentment by their neighbors.
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