Rev. Scott's Letter, Thursday of Holy Week, April 9
Delivered By
Rev. Tom Scott
Delivered On
April 9, 2020


Today is Thursday of Holy Week, Maundy (mandamus—commandment) Thursday. This is the night of declaring his new commandment. Jesus command us—we are to love one another following his example of loving, which is symbol8zed in the foot-washing (menial work done as a labor of giving comfort and offering hospitality).

What is a way to remember (re-member: re-connect) with this teaching, to stand in the tradition and be in the power of that moment of receiving the new commandment to love one another? Achieving a deeper understanding of what imitating Jesus looks like with others will bless us with a richer appreciation of what Jesus has done for us.

We can see a possibility in Paul’s discussion of the Holy Eucharist found in I Corinthians 11:23-26, which comes within a larger critique that Paul levels at the Corinthians: that they mis-understand and so demean the communion meal.

In obvious social terms, the meal, which was part of the setting for the communion liturgy at that time, had become a social event where all the usual human expressions of status showing and personal satisfaction had overtaken the re-presentation of the last supper. The result was that the rich looked good, ate well, and admired one another while competing for status. The poor who were present were thus humiliated and pushed to the edges.

Paul reminds the Corinthians of their pledge as Christians to love one another, and challenges them to face how poorly they embody the Lord’s commandment.

Being a community is more than being a collection of people gathered together—even those with a singular interest like opera or a museum exhibit. A community has an identity which its members embody and manifest among themselves and outwardly.

I know that we St Gilians are truly generous, self-giving, sacrificing friends. Our good works—joined with others—feed and otherwise care for many people. By that I am awed; for that I thank God continually. And we care about each other and express it in many ways. Hallelujah.

What I am inviting you to pray about into the future is how St Giles can contribute to rectifying the huge disparity in health and health care in our society which is now being so painfully revealed by the pandemic. As the news media report again and again, the poor and the marginal people are being scythed away by the virus in far greater numbers than the better off—not because they are poor, per se (the virus doesn't read bank account records)—but because there are multiple factors which the marginal and underserved population are burdened with in our society and health care system that produce more numerous and deadly vulnerabilities.

I don’t have a secret idea about what our contribution can be, nor do I have a plan or design for health care reform. But I do know that, as with so many things, change happens when the better off people get engaged in the subject.

  April 2021  
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