In all we do

24 July 2011
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 12A (RCL)
Genesis 29:15-28
Psalm 105:1-11
Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

We get to chuckle a little bit at Jacob today. The trickster gets tricked. After cheating his brother, tricking his father, and running for his life, Laban gives him a little of his own treatment. I find the story of Jacob, at least as told in Genesis, very ironic. God must keep God’s promises to Abraham, and Jacob wants to make sure the promises apply to him. He schemes and plots, and sure enough, God honors the divine promise, and Jacob becomes the father of a great nation. But at what cost? He and his brother Esau (Edom) become implacable enemies. Even though Jacob later buys his brother off, and secures a temporary peace, throughout their history, Israel and Edom remain enemies. I wonder if the narrator is suggesting that despite their enmity, if they would remember their history, they are really twins. Israel’s effort to see itself as God’s chosen people costs them the amity of their brothers. Continue reading “In all we do”


17 July 2011
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 11A (RCL)
Genesis 28:10-19a
Psalm 139:1-11, 22-23
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

This is one of my favorite parables, but on of my least favorite interpretations. Matthew assigns each element of the parable an interpretation; in other words turns it into an allegory. Matthew’s interpretation of the parable of the weeds and wheat sees the weeds as “bad seed” people (perhaps in the Church) whom God will separate out at the end of the age. So, of course, we should try to be good seed. Perhaps, as Matthew sought to accommodate a growing church, he needed to explain how not everyone could count on being among the children of the kingdom.

But try reading the parable without the interpretation. Continue reading “Weeds?”

Sowing wild oats

10 July 2011

Pentecost IV
Proper 10A (RCL)

Genesis 25:19-14
Psalm 119:105-112
Romans 8:1-11
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Matthew has a tendency to interpret the parables he receives into allegories.  If you read on to the next parable (the weeds among the wheat), you see that he gives each element of the parable an interpretation, turning it into an allegory.  He almost does the same here (of course, in keeping with Mark).  The bits we leave out are not at all nice — the purpose of speaking in parables is precisely to prevent people from understanding the message of the Kingdom.  That sounds to me like the sour grapes of Mark’s community, at the failure of their evangelism.

So, what if we read the parable without Matthew’s (or Mark’s) interpretation.  A sower went out to sow.  Clearly, this man is not a farmer.   Continue reading “Sowing wild oats”