PB preaches at Southwark Cathedral London

As part of her five day visit to the UK the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presided and preached at Southwark Cathedral this morning. She spoke about the forgiven woman who showed up at Simon’s house and caused scandal by expressing her unbounded love for Jesus. (The readings for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 6) are the lessons appointed for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost.)

ENS has provided a copy of her sermon. Some extracts from that sermon:

What makes us so afraid of the other? There’s something in our ancient genetic memory that ratchets up our state of arousal when we meet a stranger – it’s a survival mechanism that has kept our species alive for millennia by being wary about strangers. But there’s also a piece of our makeup that we talk about in more theological terms – the part that leaps to judgment about that person’s sins. It’s connected to knowing our own sinfulness, and our tendency toward competition – well, she must be a worse sinner than I am – thank God!

That woman who wanders into Simon’s house comes with her hair uncovered – “oh, scandal! She’s clearly a woman of the street!” And she starts to act in profoundly embarrassing ways, crying all over Jesus’ feet and cleaning up the tears with her hair. And, “oh Lord, now she’s covering him with perfume! We can’t have this in a proper house – what will people think? And I guess now we know just what sort of person this fellow is!”

The scorn that some are willing to heap on others because we think they’ve loved excessively or inappropriately is still pretty well known…..

Those who know the deep acceptance and love that come with healing and forgiveness can lose the defensive veneer that wants to shut out other sinners. They discover that covering their hair or hiding their tears or hoarding their rich perfume isn’t the way that the beloved act, even if it makes others nervous. Eventually it may even cure the anxious of their own fear by drawing them toward a seat at that heavenly banquet.

london-se1 reports:

Extra chairs were set out in the cathedral’s side aisles to accommodate the many visitors who came to hear the presiding bishop. After the Eucharist a long queue of people waited to greet Dr Jefferts Schori in person.

Speaking before the visit, the Dean of Southwark Very Revd Colin Slee said: “I am really pleased that Dr Jefferts Schori has agreed to preach and preside at Southwark Cathedral.

“We have had a number of primates come to visit us in this way and it is always a great blessing to hear from and learn about other parts of the Anglican Communion.”

Lancelot Andrewes is buried at Southwark.

But Christ is not the forbidden tree; the tree of life rather, to be touched and tasted, that we may live by Him. No place in Christ for a noli me tangere.

Sermon on the text St. John xx:17 – Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not.

Past Posts