Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | September 21, 2018

Lectionary Reflection: The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 1; James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37

Today’s first reading, “The Poem on the Capable Woman,” bids us cringe. Originally observations (not revelation!) from father to son, it contains few jewels for the 21st-century wisdom-seeker — until its end. “Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.” Wisdom knows credit is not always given where credit is due. Who also deserves accolades for the progress you —or we— seem to have achieved? Don’t hold back: the heart of healthy relationships is acclaiming all the good that our partners are and accomplish.

The Epistle and the Gospel also coach us toward more honest relationships. Even beautiful, counter-cultural self-promotion — see #Iamremarkable or #followme — is still attention-seeking. God calls us beyond these “cravings” and jockeying for position. God is not friending our competitions, but our compassion for the vulnerable. So what is good for the children? Or their children?

Two weeks ago, Grace Cathedral hosted an array of Global Climate Action Summit events. We know that the most vulnerable dimensions of life today are ecological, and those most affected by climate change are the most vulnerable. For their sake, God invites our “willingness to yield” to a more plant-based diet, to fewer consumer goods and cars, to smaller, greener spaces. What arguments can we set aside on the way? As faithful, capable humans, God invites us to hold the children in our arms and their future in our hands.

Anna E. Rossi has served in multiple roles on the Grace Cathedral staff, most recently as Succentor. A seminary graduate, Anna is sponsored by this cathedral congregation in a process to be ordained a priest in The Episcopal Church.

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