Pentecost 15 :: Keeping up Appearances

...do not sit down at the place of honor...

Hyacinth

Hyacinth Bucket

Our Gospel passage from Luke today seems hand-written for Hyacinth Bucket [that’s Bouquet]. Oh, you don’t know who Hyacinth Bucket is? Well, lemme tell ya.

Hyacinth is the lead character and matriarch—of sorts—in the English sitcom “Keeping up Appearances.” As the title implies, she desperately tries to come off as being something she is not: a very high-class, hoity-toity type of woman. Everything in her world is impeccably arranged and proper as she struggles to rise above her middle class lifestyle and present herself, her husband and family—and her home—as something other than middle-class. Hyacinth has a sister, Violet, who actually is upper class, and two sisters, Rose and Daisy, who decidedly are not. Daisy is married to a slob, Onslow [my favorite character], who goes around in a dirty undershirt and while at home always sits in front of the telly smoking cigs, drinking beer, and eating crisps.

Anyway. Hyacinth, in her quest to be that-which-she-is-not, always tries to present herself as being better than she is and, therefore, finds herself in some quite hilarious situations. So I can just picture her coming to a wedding banquet and working her way to the front of the room in order to get a seat next to the host, the place of honor. She is making herself comfortable in the posh surroundings, admiring the place settings and taking mental notes for her next candlelight supper, when the host turns and says to her, “You know, dear, your place is over there.” And, as he points to the far side of the table, continues, “Your seat is down at the end. This place is for my close friend.”

Imagine the look of horror on her face as everyone in the room turns to glare at her as she slinks away.

I wonder how many of us cannot love ourselves just for who we are? You know, the way God loves us? Thanks be to God we needn’t keep up appearances in the pres- ence of the Divine!


Link to RCL Lectionary for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

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