Sunday, March 23, 2014

Good Samaritan

I was, I confess, a little distracted by the Eiffelesque struts of Chicago's Episcopal Cathedral of St. James this morning. Until, that is, la reverenda Liz Muñoz delivered a brilliantly compelling sermon on the Samaritan woman at the well, delivered without notes from before the altar, and filling the whole big barn with its energy. She framed it by telling us of efforts to develop a liturgy for quinceañera, the coming of age ritual for Mexican and Mexican-American girls. Someone told her she had been using the story of the Samaritan woman, which at first seemed entirely inappropriate - an outsider, a woman who "had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband (John 4:18)? But apparently the 15-year olds hear something else: the story of a marginal woman, a little "uppity," who keeps the faith despite being abandoned by men (only men could initiate a divorce in Jesus' time), and who becomes a leader because she recognized the Messiah, who "told me everything I have ever done" (4:29, 39). A whole new story, it felt like. Lived religion and contextual theology at their best!

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