Fifth Sunday after Pentecost; 5 July 2020; Proper 9A; Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67; Song of Songs 2:8-13; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30.
What a mish-mosh of readings for this Sunday! If some stranger walked up to me in the town square and put a gold ring in my nose, I’m not really sure how I would react. I might think he though I was a cow. Different times. And then we get Paul’s schizophrenic rant on the law. And Jesus offering an easy yoke.
Continue reading “The yoke of law”
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost; 28 June 2020; Proper 8A (RCL); Genesis 22:1-14; Psalm 13; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42.
I have assiduously avoided choosing this passage from Genesis at Easter Vigils, because it is so troubling. But it comes up in the Sunday lectionary once every three years, so we have no choice but to deal with it. Interestingly, this is the only recorded dialog between Abraham and Isaac. It certainly would have left a lasting impression on the lad.
Continue reading “Sacrifice”
Third Sunday after Pentecost; 21 June 2020; Proper 7A (RCL); Genesis 21:8-21; Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10:24-39.
Aren’t we supposed to love an honor parents? Seems like that’s in the law somewhere. So, what does Jesus mean that whoever loves mother or father more than him is not worthy of him? What does he mean that he has not come to bring peace, but a sword?
Continue reading “I’ve come to bring a sword”
Second Sunday after Pentecost; 14 June 2020; Proper 6A (RCL); Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7; Psalm 116:1, 10-17; Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35-10:23.
Jesus sees the crowds and has compassion on them, because they are like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew is quoting the book of Numbers (27:17), when Moses worries that, after his death, the people will be like sheep without a shepherd, so God appoints Joshua (Jesus in Greek) to lead the congregation. In this passage, Jesus passes that commission on the the apostles.
Continue reading “Proclaiming a new empire”
The Feast of Pentecost; 31 May 2020; Pentecost A (RCL); Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:25-35, 37; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13; John 20:19-23.
When this shelter-in-place all started back in March (March 22, the Fourth Sunday in Lent, was our first virtual service), I though that perhaps my Pentecost, we might be gathering for in-person worship again. That was optimistic. We are still weeks, if not months, away from in-person worship. It has been an event-filled eight weeks so far.
Continue reading “Spirit in the material world”
The Seventh Sunday of Easter; Easter 7A (RCL); Acts 1:6=14; Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36; 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11, John 17:1-11.
Chapter 17 of John’s Gospel has been called Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. In it, he consecrates himself to God on behalf of his disciples, and consecrates them to God on behalf of the world. Since John doesn’t actually narrate a ‘last supper,’ this prayer serves as the consecration of himself as ‘the lamb of God’ who takes away the sins of the world, and provides the feast that atones.
Continue reading “The glory of gift”
Fourth Sunday of Easter; Easter 4A (RCL); Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10.
This Sunday is familiarly know as Good Shepherd Sunday, and the Gospel reading is always from the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel. Some years, we actually hear the portion of the chapter in which Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd.” Not this year. This year, Jesus says, “I am the door.”
Continue reading “The open door”
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”
Fifth Sunday of Lent; 29 March 2020; Lent 4A (RCL); Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45.
This is puzzling episode in John’s Gospel. Why does Jesus delay two days? Why does Thomas say, “Let us go die with him?” Is he speaking about Lazarus or Jesus? Why does Jesus grandstand for the crowd? There is so much misdirection in this passage, it will require digging to figure it out.
Continue reading “If you had been here”