Sixth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 10A (RCL); Genesis 25:1934; Psalm 119:105-112; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23.
I’m always curious when we leave out verses in a reading. The bit left out of the Matthew reading has to do with teaching, and people not understanding. God has hardened the hearts of the hearers, so they hear and don’t understand. Not the happiest of Jesus’ sayings.
Continue reading “Itinerant teaching”
Third Sunday of Easter; Easter 3A (RCL); Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17;1 Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35.
I wonder to what extent Luke wrote this story with the history of Israel in mind. The two disciples are walking away from Jerusalem when Jesus joins them and begins to interpret Moses and the prophets to them. It was in the Exile in Babylon that the exiles began to compile the books of Moses and the prophets. It was there they began to become people of the scroll. After the interpretation of Moses and the prophets, and the breaking of the bread, the two disciples run back to Jerusalem, mirroring the hope of the great restoration that shaped so much of Second Temple expectation.
Continue reading “Into exile”
Second Sunday of Easter; 19 April 2020; Easter 2A (RCL); Acts 2:14a, 22-32; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31.
The reading from John’s Gospel seems more relevant this year than ever. Here we are, locked in our houses with the doors closed for fear of COVID-19, and Jesus comes and stands in our midst anyway. And if we’ve ever needed the assurance that the resurrection happens despite our fear, this is the year.
Continue reading “Closed doors”
22 December 2019; Advent IVA (RCL); Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25
Ahaz was facing a military threat in the alliance of Israel and Syria, and scrambling to make alliances of his own. The prophet is trying to tell him that God will protect Judah without the help of a foreign alliance. Isaiah tells Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz responds that he will not put God to the test.
Continue reading “Ask a sign”
September 1, 2019; Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 17C (RCL); Jeremiah 2:4-13; Psalm 81:1, 10-16; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:1, 7-14.
One of the real potentials for embarrassment when visiting another culture is transgressing the rules of precedence. Several times on my visits to Lui in South Sudan, I found myself having made a faux pas. On one occasion, we were dining with Archbishop Daniel at the Mundri Cathedral, in the payat outside. We had entered the payat and taken our places. The archbishop came in and sat opposite the doorway, and then invited one of our party, literally, to come up higher. We all had to rearrange the seating pattern to make this happen.
Continue reading “Come up higher”
25 August 2019, The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 16C (RCL) Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; Hebrews 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17.
There are several resources for choosing hymns to go with the lectionary readings. The Episcopal Musician’s Handbook is one. Marion Hatchett published a index of the Hymnal 1982 keyed to the old Prayer Book lectionary. There is a three volume set called Liturgical Music edited by Carl P. Daw, Jr., and Thomas Pavlechko. Every time there is a healing in one of the Gospel readings, you can be sure all three resources will recommend “Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old,” or “O for a thousand tongues to sing.” If you expand out to include Voices Found, Wonder, Love and Praise, LEVAS, and My Heart Sings Out, you can be sure you’ll see recommendations for “Heal me, hands of Jesus,” or “From miles around the sick ones came.” But, often, the point of a healing story isn’t about the healing. Continue reading “What is church for?”
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 15C (RCL); Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:1-2, 8-18; Hebrews 11:29 – 12:2; Luke 12:49-56.
Passages like this one in Luke’s Gospel don’t square well with our picture of gentle Jesus, meek and mild. Jesus is certainly supposed to be concerned with justice issues, but the idea of casting fire on the earth doesn’t seem particularly helpful. Where is the non-violent Jesus? And isn’t it Matthew who has Jesus talking about people being thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, and their fire never goes out? Continue reading “Casting fire”
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 14C (RCL); Isaiah 1:1, 10-20; Psalm 50:1-8, 23-24; Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16; Luke 12:32-40
The old prophets sound so relevant these days, one might almost think they’re speaking to us. Unfortunately, the lectionary this week leaves out some particularly trenchant remarks — Ah! sinful nation, people laden with wickedness, evil race, corrupt children! But then in the passage we read: “Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeed from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”
Continue reading “Do not fear, little flock”
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 13C (RCL)
Psalm 117:1-9, 43
We have lived through another horrible week in this country; two mass killings in less than 24 hours, in cities hundreds of miles apart. Nearly 30 dead. Hatred and racism finally show their ugly faces unmasked. In the reading from Hosea, we hear God’s anguished cry that Israel has forsaken the divine parental love – like an infant God had lifted us to God’s cheek. But we have worshiped false gods — the gods of nationalism, power, violence, division — and so the sword rages in our cities. God is heartbroken, and yet will not abandon us. Continue reading “The sword rages”
Today, after more than twenty six years at the same congregation, I said goodbye. There were a lot of tears on many faces, mine included. I won’t quickly process what all of my emotions around those years, and this day. I stood looking out over all those people whose parents, and spouses, and in several cases, whose children I’ve buried. There were many couples whose weddings I officiated, and whose children I baptized; and in several cases, children I had baptized holding children of their own I have had the privilege to baptize. Continue reading “On saying goodbye”