Saturday, September 28, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear?

If I were a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and an Episcopalian, I might want to sleep in tomorrow.   If I were the CEO of a bank or an insurance company, and an Episcopalian,  tomorrow's lectionary would likely make me feel  itchy all over.  If you are someone who faces mounting debt, or are watching in dismay as a small cabal in Congress threatens to shut down the federal government, then put down that donut and coffee, and get yourself into the pew of your nearest Episcopal Church because you are gonna like this lesson from the Gospel of Luke!

I'm not going to give it away: seriously, you must go!  All I'll say is that the rich man should have been paying attention to people and not his own purse.  But since he didn't, well--crackle! Crackle! Crackle!

Depending on which Episcopal Church you attend, the readings may vary slightly in the beginning.  But everybody will hear the Luke Gospel.  And, with the looming crisis of shutting down the federal government in an effort to delay the President's plan to extend some level of health insurance to people like me (self-employed and poor who currently have no coverage), it's hard not to consider how the obstructionists in Congress are acting very much like the rich man.  And their position is being bolstered by other "rich men" who are both male and female.  CEO's of major restaurant chains who are intentionally cutting hours of their low-level employees to get around having to provide insurance coverage, and other people who constitute the "haves" in this country and are resentful of the idea that those of us who don't have might want the opportunity to get a little help.  It's not that the working poor haven't "earned" our share of the health insurance pie;  it's that even the basic apple pie, without any special toppings, is too expensive for us to pay the monthly premium.  Congress gets a health benefits package, and will not be deemed among the non-essential federal employees facing unpaid leave in the event of a shut down.  And yet, these are the people who scornfully dismiss the working poor as not having "earned" the right to affordable health care.  

Do you hear what I hear?  Crackle! Crackle! Crackle!

In a strange way, I feel pity for this group of grumps in Congress, and anyone else who derides and disses the Affordable Health Care Act.  If we follow the story of what happens to the rich man, he ends up in the bowels of hell, and begs his ancestor, Abraham, to please let him rise from the dead to warn his brothers about the fate that awaits them if they don't change their ways.  And Abraham says, "Nope!  They have Moses and the Prophets.  And if they won't heed multiple warnings that have been put out there by the prophets, then a dead man rising won't make a difference to them either." 

We've had that risen dead man.  Seems he didn't reach those who were too rich in this life to listen.



Phoebe McFarlin said...

"The poor you will always have with you". I often wonder if many people live by this and believe it is their responsibility to make sure it is true.

SCG said...

A realization of the Episcopal folks in Thomasville. You don't HAVE to keep people in poverty when you're under a command to look out for your neighbor.

Phoebe McFarlin said...

Having convinced my congregation they were all rich.. (if you have a fridge, clothes etc) I focused on the last of the Timothy reading.. "command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches..." the announcement was about a yard sale on Saturday supporting the food bank.