Archive for the ‘12th Sunday’ Category

Bethany House 6-20-2021

Friday, June 18th, 2021

A parishioner, in her will, left her small house to the parish. The
property was adjacent to the church property.
The pastor and the parish council began to look at possibilities for
the property. A number of options were suggested: a religious education
center; a residence for the pastor, enabling the parish to sell the big, two-
thirds empty house he now lived in; tearing down the house to create a
memorial park or expand the church parking lot.
Then a group of the town’s residents asked to meet with the
council. They proposed that the house be used as a temporary shelter for
battered women, a safe place where women and their children could
escape an abusive husband and begin the process of rebuilding their
lives. The council listened politely and empathetically. Then the “buts”
started… It is important work, but the house would be empty most of
the time. Do we want to get involved in these family situations? Can we really make a difference here? What about the liability, the
safety of parishioners who work on this, potential damage to the
property?
A member of the parish council said nothing during the barrage of
questions and concerns. Finally, she asked to speak. She told her own
story of being in an abusive relationship years before and that a house
like this and the group who maintained it had saved her life and her
daughter’s. She had never spoken about it before but felt she needed to
speak up now. This is more important than you know, she said quietly.
So, the little house became Bethany House, named after the home
of Martha and Mary and Lazarus, the friends of Jesus with whom he
often stayed. Members of the parish stepped forward to fix up the house
and furnish it. And it has been a safe place for families battered by the
winds of abuse and hardship.
In a storm of doubt and skepticism, the “sleeping” Jesus awakens
in the courage of a woman whose powerful story leads her parish to take
on a challenging but important ministry in their community.
We do not realize that the Gospel Jesus “sleeps” within our own “boats” he “awakens” during the most difficult and demanding storms we
encounter, enabling us to do what is right and just. Within each of us is
the grace of the “awakened” Jesus in today’s Gospel: the wisdom, the
patience, the courage to discern the presence of God amid the storms of
tension, fear, anxiety, and the injustice we experience. As Frederick
Buechner writes in his book Secrets of the Dark: “Christ sleeps in the
deepest selves of all of us, and whatever we do in whatever time we
have left, wherever we go, may we in whatever way we can call on
him as the fishermen did in their boat to come awake within us and
to give us courage, to give us hope, to show us, each one, our way.
May he be with us especially when the winds go mad and the waves
run wild, as they will for all of us before we’re done, so that even in
their midst we may find peace, find Him.”