I have come down

28 August 2011
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 17A (RCL)
Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28

We have two very startling passages this Sunday: Exodus and Matthew. In the Exodus passage, God says “I have seen the misery of my people. I have heard their cry of distress.” In the whole pantheon of Egypt, was there any god who paid any attention to the goings on of the people? especially enslaved people? Here is the great theological insight of Israel, which we simply take for granted. God notices. And God says, “I have come down,” to do something about the situation. Israel’s faith, or trust, in that attribute of God would be tested again and again: really? God has come down? So is our faith tested again and again. We see plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Second startling passage. Just after Peter has given Jesus his identity as the Christ, Continue reading “I have come down”

Keys to the Kingdom

21 August 2011
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 16A (RCL)
Exodus 1:8-2:10
Psalm 124
Romans 12:1-8
Matthew 16:13-20

The story of the little baby Moses in the Nile River is actually a very humorous story, even though it is set in the midst of political oppression that amounts to genocide. Any number of cultures have a myth of the divine birth of the King. The child destined to become king comes from unknown circumstances, and so his birth is assumed to be divine. In the Mesopotamian cultures, some of those stories involve the king, as an infant, floating down the river. The writer of the story of Moses steals that story and changes it so that the reader of the story knows where the child comes from, even though Pharaoh’s daughter does not. And his birth is divine in the sense that he comes from God’s chosen people, but those despised by the Egyptians. Remembering that this story was put into the Bible while the Jews were in Exile in Babylon (Mesopotamia), the Jews would have smiled knowingly when they heard it.

It has always amazed me that we have the full collection of Hebrew people. Usually the winners write history, Continue reading “Keys to the Kingdom”