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Feast of the Epiphany

ETA: augh, Spoilers for Dr. Who Season 4 ep "The Doctor's Daughter" below the cut

Every now and again, I circle back to the idea of looking for someplace to go to church.   It’s difficult, because while my break with Catholicism seems more irrevocable than ever, I still miss Mass.   Liturgy is something you feel in your bones. 

And while there are certainly Christian churches with strong commitments to social justice, I have to say my own experiences have left me wary.  I’ve been in a church community that was fully accepting of lesbians and gay men, but I pretty much don’t have words for how Absolutely. Batshit. Insane. it made me to discover the whole hosts of folks who they were still aiming to save. 

I get that this is the very thing Catholic missions are up to elsewhere in the world, but on Long Island in the ‘70s, almost everyone I knew was either Jewish or Catholic, and we all went to each other’s feasts and High Holy days and it was like how some of us were Italian and some Polish and some Greek.   It didn’t need to be fixed.

J, who grew up in a small-town Baptist church of the eternal hellfire variety, often cannot fathom why I cleave so stubbornly to the name Christian.  In truth, I often can’t explain it myself.

Which is why I found this scene so gratifying: the Tenth Doctor, faced with the senseless death of a girl he was growing to love, picked up the gun, aimed it at the face of the shooter, and then dropped his arm with the words, I never would.

It reminded me exactly why I don’t believe in hell—however tremendous the suffering we visit upon each other, I never would is, for me, Christ’s most lasting message.

I believe that, if the Lord sayeth, Vengeance is mine, it is because it’s too toxic for the rest of us to bear.  And also because God is then free to choose not to wield it on those whom He loves, which is to say, us all.

In the stories, the Magi bring gifts of great significance.  In this new year, mine would seem to be the gift of peace, if only I have the resolve to reach for it.