Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Inn, and other uncomfortable thoughts.

I just posted this to my facebook wall:

Today, as I waited for my turn to go up and get Eucharist (Communion), I read this prayer in the Book of Common Prayer:
#37, For Prisons and Correctional Institutions
Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal:
Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgment.
Remember all prisoners, and bring the guilty to repentance
and amendment of life according to your will, and give them
hope for their future. When any are held unjustly, bring them
release; forgive us, and teach us to improve our justice.
Remember those who work in these institutions; keep them
humane and compassionate; and save them from becoming
brutal or callous. And since what we do for those in prison,
O Lord, we do for you, constrain us to improve their lot. All
this we ask for your mercy's sake. Amen.
I love it. Seeing Christ in ALL people is difficult sometimes, but it is good to have reminders.

I had another insight today, too. As I was driving to church, I got a call from a fellow parishioner asking for a ride. I felt badly, but I was running late and needed to have the Altar set up by the time people started arriving to church, so I apologetically said no.
My thoughts turned to the "no room in the inn" thoughts and "seeing Christ in all people" thoughts and I felt horrible.
Then I started really, really thinking about the "no room in the inn" thing. If the inn really was filled up, wasn't it a kindness that the innkeeper offered up his barn? 
After church, our deacon, Sandra, was in the Sacristy with me as I was finishing up the cleaning up the Altar - washing the Chalice and putting everything away. 
I brought up the inn situation. Her thoughts on the matter was one I hadn't ever thought of before.
"The inns back in Jesus' day weren't like Motel 6 today," she started out saying. People had to share rooms; they may not even know each other, and they didn't separate men from women. It was a kindness that Mary did not have to deliver her baby in such a space. The barn was a blessing.
We also talked about the difference between "nice" and "kind". Nice may be enabling (making life worse for people in the long run); "'Nice' is the fodder for terrorism," is what Peter+ says.
"Kind" is trying to do the right thing, even if it doesn't feel very nice; it is not jumping in to rescue people; it is holding boundaries to protect yourself, while taking care of others in a healthy way.
I'm going to leave this right here and not tidy it up and add a bow on top. Sometimes epiphanies left open-ended can be a springboard for even more awareness later.
♥ Melody

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