The other day I read about Tony Benn, who my mother idolized. He was passionate orator, and a political diarist. Good diaries can be compelling windows into an age, especially by discerning writers. Some use it to document feelings, to work through one’s thoughts. But I had one parishioner who made lists of what was done. I’m tempted to make it into a list of things I need to do.
So yesterday I preached. The gospel was on Nicodemus, and his misunderstanding of Jesus. John divides the world into light and dark, and Nicodemus is from the dark, and so he is forever in the fog of misunderstanding, who can’t figure out the riddle Jesus. Who do we understand? Those who have suffered along side us, who’ve fought the same battles. And in a more balkanized society, where we are separated by class and by media demographic, we simply don’t understand what we think we do. A solution? To free us from that misunderstanding, we must try to hear one another. I referred to the Buddhists who would meditate on corpses in Sri Lanka, which would prepare them for burying the bodies after the tsunami. Only when we hear, see, contemplate the stories, can we carry them, recognize them in others. I made the analogy that seeing the serpent was like inoculation – and perhaps the cross is like that as well. The cross casts light upon the suffering of others.
After, I taught on the Apostles creed. We discussed hell.
I went to a wake for a well-loved deaf priest who lived in the area. At the funeral home I saw the mayor and his wife and a couple parishioners who knew his son through boy scouts. Sometimes when I see a local politician I feel like we have a lot in common because we have to please a lot of different people. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. Theoretically I have a lot more freedom, but then, I restrain myself.
I said a few prayers from the prayerbook, which were translated by a signer.
I went to the library where a local buddhist temple was making gifts for clients of Meals on Wheels of White Plains, where I am a board member. The temple is supporting a lot of public projects. It feels a lot different than other institutions – they make no effort to evangelize, but have become much more involved in the variety of institutions in the area. They have even started sending one person to the White Plains Religious Leaders.
I almost went dancing, but my friend’s aunt died. So we ordered pizza, opened up a bottle of Pinot Noir from the Languedoc Region (not a classic, but perfectly tasty), and watched Monty Python.