I work for an insurance company, and so often folks hear that and they sort of wince in a way that they think I don’t see. I know, I get it, everyone has had a terribly mishandled claim, everyone (me included) feels like they pay in and pay in but never collect on those payments.
What folks don’t know though, is that we have meetings every month, and all of the time the people who are the bosses plead with us to ¨find coverage¨, to delve into the policy, to interpret the language and find a way to pay the claim. This is the kind of company that I work for, one of the best small business in America, where we have free oatmeal and coffee and chicken noodle soup packets, and people take time off and people move up. We have these T shirts, and on the back is all of the core values that we live, and the one at the top is my favorite: We take care of our own.
Because we do. And because in being forced to think on a decision that seems easy, being called to delve deeper and to find a way to pay the claim; that makes the job of a claim adjuster much easier. I know that when I deny a claim I have the policy behind me, which I have thoroughly interpreted and bent to my will, and that I have a whole pile of people behind me too who are either agreeing or questioning the one thing I might have overlooked.
We take care of our own, because they are all our own. Whether they are terrible Corvettes (I’m sorry, I’m not a Corvette girl) or really kickass VW busses, we take care of them.
I was reading a rebuttal today to like a million (ok, 39) questions that a self espoused evangelical had for how we support things like gay marriage. And a little light bulb turned on, it illuminated a room I didn’t know existed. It is a room full of things that I must review and interpret. It made me realize that when we speak out against things like gay marriage, or a homeless Jesus statue, we are denying coverage; not finding coverage.
We are picking through the documents and finding all of the reasons why we should say no, but we aren’t looking for reasons to affirm, we aren’t looking for reasons to love people or to invite them, but to turn them away, to deny them.
I would assert that is important to always be finding coverage, to always be minding the gap, to always be walking with our eyes open and our hearts wide. I would assert that going out and evangelizing looks like that. It looks like me and you and we are friends and we trust each other, it is us going into the wide world and saying; I love you. We love you. Jesus loves you.
It is most assuredly not standing by and smacking your bible on your leg and barking at people. It is most assuredly not ¨loving the sinner and hating the sin¨, because we all have sin, and this is why we confess that sin whether to an intercessor like a priest or all in assembly or in privacy; on our knees, begging for God to find coverage for even us.
If coverage is found for you, with whatever your particular sin is, why can’t you search not for random and not in context verses to support your militant attitude, but search for coverage?
Can you understand, do you fully understand, the mystery and the fullness of grace that is our God? Is every question answered? Is every mystery nailed down? Have you actually watched the bread become flesh?
I do not think that I have, or that I do.
I think I’m traveling with you and I am disagreeing on our direction. I feel like the woods that loom in the twilight offer shelter and solace, I hear the river running a mile or so in, and I am not afraid to walk into the twilit wood. I am offering you my hand. I am telling you that I do not have anything figured out, only that I am looking for coverage. I am looking for a way that the grace of our God can extend to every single person. Even you, in your chair, snorting in contempt and thumping your bible. The dusty road that has been well traveled, it doesn’t have the lure that the wood offers, it doesn’t have the promise of something new, of some new thing I am called to consider, it’s just a dusty road. And you don’t have to stay on the road.
Today was my first time offering the blood of Christ, my purificator (this special cloth that is blessed and able to receive the blood) was so covered with wine, and lipstick, and wine. And my friend Tom told me that I did well. And my beloved deacon and I finished the host. He offered it to me, with a hopeful smile, and I consumed. And then I had the honor of taking the cups and the plates from him as he cleared the altar.
Saying, over and over again, the blood of Christ, the cup of salvation, was a new experience. I liked it, the only hard part was when we sang a song didn’t know and I didn’t have my hymnal. It was nothing like Ash Wednesday and drawing so many crosses on so many foreheads as I reminded the people at the rail that they are dust, and to dust they shall return.
But such holy dust. Each of you, created for a purpose, for some greater end than you will ever imagine or know. Each of you, elderly, watery eyes and shaking hands grasping the chalice, young children at the very cusp of all that will be, beloved friends, you all looked at me today. And you heard me extend to you the only blessing that I can give, and took what I offered freely, many times with a nod of encouragement, with a smile that said, I am so happy to see you here.
Look for coverage my friends. Find ways that our patchwork quilt can reach out and cover all of humanity, from those who feel persecuted and left out, to that friend who will take your hand and walk out with into the world proclaiming the good news.
Good news. It truly is, a person died for you, and you are already redeemed, you are already beloved and perfect and divinely created. Already you’re there, standing on the cusp of glory.
Take my hand, walk out with me.
It is good news, a good message, and one that is true, because I know about it and I am licensed in other things, and I am telling you that the coverage has been found.
Even for me, even for you, the coverage is there.