This past week Steve and I watched the movie “Crazy Rich Asians.” I am not endorsing the movie, but the characters and plot illustrated something that I have experienced, along with many of you. The main character, a young Chinese American woman named Rachel Chu, faced a difficult dilemma. She fell in love with a young man—not a bad thing—who was also Chinese—also not a bad thing. Rachel and Nick were both 1st generation Chinese Americans, but Nick’s entire family lived in Singapore. Chinese family. Same culture, right? Rachel thought so. She loved Nick and earnestly wanted to please his family by doing the right thing—also not a bad thing—but did not know how. She tried to “play by their rules,” but it turns out she didn’t really know what the rules were. She was caught between the culture of her family and ancestors and the culture in which she was living and understood.
Last Tuesday was the primary election for our state, and it was confusing and contentious, per normal. Throw in the added uncertainty of the loss of our 8 term US Senator and a sharply divided political environment, and it was difficult to know what the “right thing” was to do. Our culture is so different than it used to be—just when we get used to something, or even just begin to wrap our brains around it, we blink twice and it has changed.
Our gospel reading this morning was written by a man who was experiencing the same kind of dilemma—caught between the 2 worlds of his religion and tradition and that of his new faith. He had grown up and been taught and trained in the tradition of his elders—Judaism—and he knew the rules and the laws and the practices. And now he is navigating the path between the old and the new. What is the NEW “right thing?”
Originally preached Sunday, September 2, 2018