Starting from here

18 December 2011
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Advent 4B (RCL)
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Psalm 89:1-4, 16-26
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

The readings for this coming Sunday present us with a sustain reflection on the concept of “house.” David wants to build God a house. David now lives in a house of cedar; surely God should as well. Nathan tells David to do what he has in mind, until God appears in a dream and recommends otherwise. In all those years wandering through the desert, God asks, did I live in a house? In all those years in the promised land, when the judges ruled in Israel, asks God, did I ever mention wanting a house? Instead, God moved around with the people. In the desert, whenever God’s glory lifted from the tent, the people struck camp and followed. Whenever they pitched the tent, God’s glory settled on it. The word for glory, in Hebrew, is shekinah. Continue reading “Starting from here”

Who are you?

11 December 2011
Third Sunday of Advent
Advent 3B (RCL)
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm 126
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

For the second Sunday in a row, we have a reading about John the Baptist. One notices immediately about this reading what is missing. In all three of the synoptic Gospels, John states that he baptizes with water, but one is coming who baptizes with spirit. Here, when those sent from Jerusalem ask John who he is, he affirms and does not deny, but affirms, the he is not the Christ. Nor is he Elijah, or the prophet. And when they ask him who he is, he says he is a voice. And then, that while he baptizes with water, “among you stands one you do not know.” We wait for him to say, “He will baptize with holy spirit,” but he never does. Even the construction of the Greek, leads us to expect, a “but.” John the Baptist uses the pronoun, “I myself baptize”, which leads the reader to expect, “but he.”

Imagine Continue reading “Who are you?”


4 December 2011
Second Sunday of Advent
Advent 2B (RCL)
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

Prof. Jim Kelhoffer has written an entire book on the diet of John the Baptist. His book covers the variations that occur in translations of the Gospels into Syriac and other ancient languages, and the interpretations early commentators give to the question of what John ate. But, simply, John ate what we would call grasshoppers and wild honey.

John, in other words, had opted out. Leviticus 11:22 allows locusts as clean food. But, we can be pretty sure that locusts were food of last resort. Continue reading “Grasshoppers”