The shame that old man Joseph felt
in taking Mary to the barn
was mainly that, of course, it smelt:
it reeked with sheep shit, donkey dung,
and cattle plops. The widower
knew wives who whelped were never clean
themselves until the midwives pour
the well water over their loins
and legs, wash front and back. His first
young wife had died in giving birth
to their third child. He shook his fist
at heaven as she lay in filth
and breathed no more. Sweet Mary mild,
step-mother, virgin, pushed and smiled…
– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, Dec. 24, 2014
Ever been a leper? I have. I still am.
Lepers are people separated from the mainstream society. Isolated. Beaten. Pushed to the side. Shamed. Ashamed. I have met the leper many times. I meet him every morning shaving. I meet her as the abused woman, the taunted gay teenager, the child who has trouble in school, the sentenced murderer, the hooker, the heroin addict, the young person and the tenured professor who took their own lives, the depressed, oppressed, repressed, and suppressed souls who live in quiet despair. Sometimes we break the chains of the psychic and social code. Sometimes we move out of the leper colony, push our way through the crowd and cry out.
That’s what this sermon is about. Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church in Chaska, MN.
Let me know what you think. Better yet, let me know what you feel. Peace.