Stewards of the mysteries

27 February 2011
Eighth Sunday after Epiphany
Epiphany 8A (RCL)
Isaiah 49:8-16a
Psalm 131
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Matthew 6:24-34

Paul has been scolding his Corinthian community for partisanship. Some of them have chosen Apollos as their champion, some Paul, some Cephas. I suspect there are Jew/Gentile issues behind these choices. Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles, Cephas as having withdrawn from the Gentile mission (in Antioch) and practicing “judaizing.” I don’t know what camp Apollos represented, but it’s a good Greek name. You can almost hear the arguments in Corinth about whether we ought to observe the law, have complete freedom from it, or somewhere in the middle.

Then, as we get to chapter 4, Paul tells us that a person ought to think of the leaders as servants of Christ and as stewards of the mysteries of God. Continue reading “Stewards of the mysteries”

Be perfect?

20 February 2011
Seventh Sunday after Epiphany
Epiphany 7A (RCL)

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
Psalm 119:33-40
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
Matthew 5:38-48

The Book of Leviticus is one of the most puzzling in the Bible. All these rules about what kind of animals can be sacrificed, and how, and for what circumstances. If you house has leprosy, you have to offer a particular form of sacrifice (we wonder what it means for a house to have leprosy — mildew?). But, when Jewish children are learning to read Hebrew, the first book they read is Leviticus. For them, it is about God’s love affair with the world. Really? Ruminant animals with cloven hooves are good to eat, but ruminants without cloven feet or cloven footed animals not ruminant (like pigs) Continue reading “Be perfect?”