|Pen and Ink Reflections||
I love being trans. How about you? No, I am not so much speaking about being transgender, as about simply being human, or at least a Christian variety thereof: in other words, about being a person who is transfiguring. That is each and every one of us. This is not to downplay the significance of someone being transgender, or otherwise. After all, we still have some way to go in working through that. The particularity of each of our human lives really matters. Each transgender life and story is also unique: a special creation in God’s love. Yet, the more I reflect upon it, in a powerful sense, in the divine economy, being transgender is also a way of helping us all recognise that each of us is continually invited to embrace transfiguration. For, as human beings, as Christians, we are never fixtures but loved works in process. What we shall be is not what we are now. All that is loving in our past and present is indeed taken up into what we shall be. In the glory of God however, we are, and will be, so much than we can ever imagine. This is part of the gift of the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ which we celebrate today…
So which are we? Bent or arched? Burdened or arrogant? These are the questions posed by today's wonderful story of a healing in a synagogue on the sabbath day. It is by no means the only story about Jesus getting into trouble over his keeping of the sabbath, but it is surely the most touching.
The woman in this story is bent double. She is probably suffering from what doctors now describe as ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic progressive form of inflammatory arthritis that causes fusion of the spinal bones. Even today there is no really effective cure and people continue to be bent over. As a sufferer from rheumatoid arthritis, also chronic, progressive and inflammatory, I feel a deep sympathy for her plight. She has leant forward to relieve the pain, but the more she has leant forward the more the spine has fused, so that now after eighteen years all she can see is her feet. She converses with the ants and the earth, and those speaking to her, supposing they even bother to try, talk to her bent back. In her culture she would have been a complete social outcast. Her very physical being reflects the burden she carries - a burden of exclusion, poverty, and rejection...
by Jon Inkpin for Lent 2 Year B, Sunday 1 March 2012
Are you a pilgrim, or a planner?
In many ways there is nothing wrong with being a planner. Good planners, for instance, can make a huge difference to our quality of life. Chaotic places and situations can breed anxiety and violence. Amid the challenges and complexity of our modern world, good planning is helpful and we also need some of it in our personal and community lives. Indeed, in our parish, we even have our own MAP, or Mission Action Plan! Spiritually speaking however, are we not always called to live our lives as pilgrims? This is at the heart of our scripture readings today. This is at the heart of our Lenten journey. This is at the heart of our Faith and salvation...