Rev. Dr. Jalene Chase
I love Stevie Wonder’s music. My favorite album, yes, I said album, is Songs in the Key of Life, but “Superstition” is from Talking Book. The album (I know, I keep dating myself) was released in 1972 with this song being very popular. The chorus says, “When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain’t the way.”
Superstition is the irrational belief or way of thinking that is based on fear of the unknown, based on ignorance, a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary. It seems that we are inundated with people acting irrationally out of fear ignited by ignorance. I read once that, if our brain can’t explain something, we make it up. We have made up things about groups of people based on race, gender, geographical location, economic status, religion, and culture to name a few, and we believe it despite evidence to the contrary. We have marginalized, demonized, ostracized, and categorized people to the point of not seeing them as people. Instead of embracing the things that we have in common, some look for how we differ. And that’s sad.
I don’t know how ir-rationalization became the norm. I know it’s not a word, but stick with me. Think of some of the things we say and do: beginner’s luck keeps us trying new things; find a penny, pick it up and all day you’ll have good luck; knock on wood so that we don’t jinx ourselves; we cross our finger so that something will happen. Superstition.
Some people have a fear of Friday the 13th, it’s called paraskevidekatriaphobia. Some building don’t have a 13th floor. Some hotels don’t have a 13th room. Some establishments won’t put 13 chairs at a table, so a 14th is added. I was curious where it came from, so I looked it up. Some writers say that it stems from Christianity. Because this is my faith tradition, I decided to read more. Apparently, some believe that Christ was the 13th person at the table for the Last Supper, and He died so horribly. Because Jesus died on a Friday, Friday the 13th is bad luck. Who knew? This train of thought dates back to 1800’s. But we call it Good Friday! And He rose again on Sunday!
Let me shift our thinking. I picked this song for this month because it has Friday the 13th. Did you know that the months that have Friday the 13th start on Sunday? Go ahead, look on the calendar; I’ll wait. Yup, September and December. And we have our Friday/Sunday pairing again. So maybe it isn’t so bad after all. Because you have your calendar, make off some Sundays to spend with us. We extended our summer worship time of 9:45am to November 3; that leaves plenty of time to change your way of thinking about what to do on a Sunday morning. You can also find us on our webpage www.eumcbeltsville.com or Facebook www.facebook.com/groups/EUMCBeltsville/. Until next time.