Rich toward God

1 August 2010
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 13C (RCL)

Hosea 11:1-11
Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Colossians 3:1-11
Luke 12:13-21

One of these days . . . Here is my translation of the Colossians passage for this week: Since, then, you have been resurrected with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your sights on the things above, not on things on earth. For you have died, and your life is buried with Christ in God, so that whenever the Christ appears, namely, your life, the even you with him will appear in glory. Put to death, then, the earthly parts: fornication, Continue reading “Rich toward God”

One thing needed

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
25 July 2010
Proper 12C (RCL)

Hosea 1:2-10
Colossians 2:6-19
Luke 11:1-13

The story of Mary and Martha raised the question, “What is the one needed thing?” This passage answers the question. First, though, we have to go back to the mission of the seventy. Jesus told them to go out two by two, carrying no purse, no bag, no tunic and no sandals. They were to eat what was set before them, heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom. In other words, they were to restore the ceremonially unclean to ceremonial community and then eat a meal as if they were in the Temple with all those restored. This was the kingdom.

Then, in the story of Mary and Martha, Jesus comes to them off the road, like one of the itinerant preachers he just sent out, and they set food before him. Presumably, he announced the kingdom. And, now, the Lord’s Prayer. I like Luke’s version better than Matthew’s because it is so direct. Father, let you name be holy, let your kingdom come, give us our something bread every day. Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who owe us anything, and don’t bring us to the test. Here is the prayer of the messengers of the kingdom. Not, let your kingdom come someday, but here, now as we are eating, let this be your kingdom. The word we translate “daily” is a neologism (made up by whoever wrote down the first version of the Lord’s prayer). We don’t know what it means, but something like “what we happen upon” or “the bread which we set out.” Perhaps it’s the bread we are supposed to set before those who come to us.

And then the wonderful story about the friend at night. The NRSV calls him “persistent.” The word is actually “shameless”. He has already been shamed by having nothing to set before his friend. He has nothing to lose by standing out there banging on the door all night. He needs bread to set before his friend, in order to eat the kindgom meal. At the end of the passage, Luke tells us that God will give to those who ask, holy breath, what is needed for having the kingdom be present. That is the one thing needed.

Mary or Martha or both?

18 July 2010
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 11C (RCL)

Amos 8:1-12
Psalm 52
Colossians 1:15-28
Luke 10:38-42

Tuesday, I was reading an article in the New York Times about BP’s risky behavior. Apparently, the company culture pushed the envelop of safety in order to make more profit. Amos scolds Israel, the northern kingdom, for pushing the envelope of religious observance in order to maximize profit: when will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great. The consequence, according to Amos, is that God will punish Israel by abandoning them: the dead bodies shall be many, cast out in every place.

Got to be careful about Continue reading “Mary or Martha or both?”

Who is our neighbor?

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
11 July 2010
Proper 10C (RCL)

Amos 7:7-17
Psalm 82
Colossians 1:1-14
Luke 10:25-37

I’m sitting in my office (sort of) listening to the “Thursday group” come in for exercises. By “sort of”, I mean I’m getting up to get the creamer and sugar out for the coffee, and greet the ladies. This is part of the Crestwood Parish Nurse program. People from Crestview retirement center are coming over on Thursday mornings to do an exercise class. After the class, a detective from St. Louis County Police will speak on avoiding fraud. In a very short time, Deb has put together an interesting group of folks who make a point of coming to the programs we offer. And most of the folks are from the neighborhood, not from Advent.

So, I’m reading the story of the Good Samaritan, Continue reading “Who is our neighbor?”