The unpardonable sin

Father David Epps's picture

I came very close to committing the unpardonable sin recently. Actually, it wasn’t THE unpardonable sin spoken about by Jesus in the New Testament, but it came pretty close.

We are about to break ground on a new building for our church. We’re pretty excited about it. This will be our second building for the church that began in 1996. The first building is a sanctuary and this will be a parish life center that will consist of a fellowship hall, several classrooms for children, and a toddler nursery and an infant nursery.

Being mindful of the church calendar and the power of signs and symbols, I selected Pentecost Sunday for the ground-breaking ceremony. The plan was to have church services, dinner on the grounds, and then a brief ground-breaking observance with members of the congregation, even the kids, all being invited to bring their shovels and participate.

Pentecost Sunday commemorates the “birthday” of the Christian faith and the day that the Holy Spirit was “poured out upon all flesh,” as the Bible states.

This year, Pentecost Sunday falls on May 11. Several people pointed out to me that May 11 was also Mother’s Day, but I saw no problem with that. After all, Mother’s Day is not a church or a Christian holiday and Pentecost is a major feast day in the Church so, I reasoned, it should trump Mother’s Day.

It was several days later that I became aware that I had committed an unpardonable sin. Mother’s Day, I realized (after multiple telephone calls and several face-to-face encounters with both irritated women and pleading men) may not be a church holy day but it comes pretty darn close to being a family holy day.

I had, it became clear, threatened to kill the sacred cow, to desecrate the most holy of secular holidays, and to demean and denigrate mothers everywhere.

It is true that more telephone calls are made on Mother’s Day than on any other day of the year. It is also true that more moms are taken out to eat on this special day than on any other day of the year. It is also true that, in Protestant churches in America, at least, more people know about Mother’s Day than they know about Pentecost.

So, guess what day we are NOT having our ground-breaking ceremony? Yep — Mother’s Day.

Some would accuse me of compromising, of caving in, of giving in to pressure, of taking the easy way — even the cowardly way — out. To all such charges, I plead guilty.

I am willing to face persecution for the faith, criticism for standing for orthodox Christianity, and I am willing to sacrifice time, sleep, and treasure for Christ and His Church. I am not so willing to face the ire of neglected moms and grandmoms. I prefer to think of this as “being wise.”

So, as of today, we have no date set for the ground-breaking, although our project manager is ready to roll.

Maybe we can do it on Father’s Day. Nobody seems to think that day is especially important.

login to post comments | Father David Epps's blog