Each in our own dialect

9 June 2019
The Feast of Pentecost
Pentecost C (RCL)

Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm 104:25-35, 37
Acts 2:1-21
John 14:8-17, 25-27

I have often heard it preached (and probably preached it myself), that Pentecost undoes Babel. But I don’t think that’s true. The point of Babel seems to me that God desire diversity, and wants the human race scattered over the face of the earth. God desire a variety of languages and experiences, so that we may learn from each other how others see God. Continue reading “Each in our own dialect”

What is glory?

2 June 2019
Seventh Sunday of Easter
Easter 7C (RCL)

Acts 16:16-34
Psalm 97
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, , 20-21
John 17:20-26

I’m sure Luke included this little story as a way of showing that Jesus’s name continues to have power over the spiritual powers of the world, even in the age of the apostles. When things like the theater and the arena were considered the realm of demons, and practitioners thereof who became Christian had to extract themselves from such employment, one could speak of that process in terms of exorcism. I suppose we could use such language today (and I’m sure there are some who do) when speaking of leaving a life of drugs or the sex trade. Jesus’ name continues to have power. Continue reading “What is glory?”

Yet a little while

19 May 2019
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Easter 5C (RCL)

Acts 11:1-18
Psalm 148
Revelation 21:1-6
John 13:31-35

I think we are a little surprised to hear Jesus say, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” Just a chapter further on, he will say, “In my father’s house are many dwelling places (rest stops). If it were not so, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going, you know the way.” Continue reading “Yet a little while”

Testimony of works

12 May 2019
Fourth Sunday of Easter
(Good Shepherd Sunday)
Easter 4C (RCL)

Acts 9:36-43
Psalm 23
Revelation 7:9-17
John 10:22-30

The Gospel reading for this Sunday comes from that section of John’s Gospel often called the Good Shepherd Discourse. In the discourse, Jesus speaks one of the great I AM statements: I AM the Good Shepherd. In the passage we will hear on Sunday, he does not use this phrase, but says only, “You do not trust me because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice.” Continue reading “Testimony of works”

Fish for breakfast

5 May 2019
Third Sunday of Easter
Easter 3C (RCL)

Acts 9:1-20
Psalm 30
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-19

The Gospel reading this week feels like an appendix to John’s Gospel. The reading last week ended with a statement about all the things Jesus did not written in the book, and that these are written so that we may come to believe, and believing may have eternal life. A good place to end the book. And then we get this, oh, yeah, by the way story. Continue reading “Fish for breakfast”

Fear or faith

28 April 2019
Second Sunday of Easter
Easter 2C (RCL)

Acts 5:27-32
Psalm 150
Revelation 1:4-8
John 20:19-31

What strikes me this time reading the story of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples in John’s Gospel is that they are inside the room with the doors locked for fear. We have just seen Church bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Day. We live in an age characterized by fear. Everyone is afraid that what they have is slipping (or being taken) away, so we have settled into so many silos. Continue reading “Fear or faith”

In the garden

21 April 2019
Easter Sunday
Easter Principal Service C (RCL)

Isaiah 65:17-25
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
1 Corinthians 15:19-26
John 20:1-18

In the final section of the book of Isaiah, the prophet imagines life in the restored land. This is the vision of justice that was distorted in Isaiah 5, the song of the vineyard. Those who plant vineyards will eat the fruit. Those who build houses will live in them. Not only does this vision reverse the calamity of exile, it also reverses the rapacity of profit seeking landlords. Indeed, a vision for our time. Continue reading “In the garden”

Talkin’ about the passion

14 April 2019
Palm/Passion Sunday
Year C (RCL)

Luke 19:28-40
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Luke 22:14 – 23:56

None of the Gospel writers, it seems to me, are very interested in developing a doctrine of atonement, in which Jesus’ death in some way deals with the problem of human sin. Paul is certainly interested in developing a theology of how Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection establishes a new righteousness, but the Gospel writers wrap any such attempt in a narrative. Continue reading “Talkin’ about the passion”

A new thing

7 April 2019
Fifth Sunday in Lent
Lent 5C (RCL)

Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalm 126
Philippians 3:4b-14
John 12:1-8

In one way or another, all of these readings have to do with something new emerging. The Isaiah passage ironically recalls God opening a way through the Red Sea, and then calls on the people not to remember this anymore, because something new is about to happen. This time God will open a way through the desert, and water the dry places. Psalm 126 also seems to refer to the return from Exile. Continue reading “A new thing”

Lost and found

31 March 2019
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Lent 4C (RCL)

Joshua 5:9-12
Psalm 32
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

The parable of the Lost Son comes as the third of three parables concerning things lost and found. The first is the one sheep out of 99, and the second is the one coin out of ten. Now, we have one of two. Stories of younger sons and elder sons abound in the scriptures of Israel. Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brothers – always the younger son comes out on top. Perhaps Israel experienced itself as the unlikely, lucky younger son. Continue reading “Lost and found”