Only Remembered for the Worst?
I found myself on a road trip the other weekend; I was able to indulge in one of my secret pleasures. Alone in the car, I could put on my radio and sing away without worrying about being off-key. I have a stash of Charlie King and Earth Mama CDs that I love to listen to and sing along with. They stay in the car for just such occasions.
One of the Charlie King songs I find especially poignant and even more so since I had just emailed Governor Kasich about an upcoming execution. Abdul Hamin Awkal has been on death row, was scheduled to face execution on June 6, but received a two- week reprieve to determine if he is competent enough for execution. Mr. Awkal is severely mentally ill.
Charlie wrote the song, “The Worst You’ve Ever Done,” inspired by the words of Sister Helen Prejean. The main question it poses is: what would it be like to only be remembered for the one thing you did that you’d most like to undo? It doesn’t let us “lesser sinners” off the hook either, naming actions that come all too easily when we’re angry, hurt or afraid.
As these ideas were roaming around in my head, a couple came into the store. During our conversation, the gentleman asked about the “trouble” in the Church, intimating that it might not be bad if the Church were smaller, had fewer members. Those who belonged would be those who accepted the Church’s teachings, the faithful. It was so tempting to say “Yes, wouldn’t that be ideal!”
But that would leave out a lot of us – and I’m not sure the Church really wants that. Didn’t Jesus say that he was looking for, not the just, but sinners? Well, he’s got us! And we have to learn to contend with that, to contend with each other. Wouldn’t the Church (and our world) be much healthier if we could sit down and talk together?
Why is it we have so many problems with the human side of us, of our institutions? We’ll always be flawed; our human instincts will pull us where we “shouldn’t” go. But that’s only half of the story. We – institutions and individuals – are also marked with the Divine; God’s presence dwells within each and every one of us, saint and sinner and those who fall somewhere between. What would happen if we, each of us, really accepted God’s unconditional love for us? What would happen if we believed that God had that same love for everyone, right now, just as we are? Pretty incredible possibilities, huh?
Posted @ Monday, June 18, 2012 by Sister Karen
Sharon, you said some profound things very simply. We are the church, doing our best while being wounded ourselves. We do what we believe...and nobody's perfect! Thanks.