Who’s shameless?

28 July 2013
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 12 C (RCL)
Hosea 1:2-10
Psalm 85
Colossians 2:6-19
Luke 11:1-13

In the RCL, we have been working our way through a sort of history of the divided kingdoms in the Old Testament readings of Year C. We have been reading the minor prophets for the last couple of weeks. Amos was a southern prophet who went north to Bethel and spoke against the excesses of the wealthy. Hosea is, by all appearances, a northern prophet who inveighs against the polytheism of the north. It would be unfair to say that a pure YHWHism had become infected with the worship of the Canaanite gods, but more accurate to say that Hosea was out there on the leading edge of monotheism, trying to direct the religion of Israel toward a pure YHWHism. The fertility cults of the whole Canaanite region were found equally in Israelite (and probably Judahite) religion, but as the disaster of political collapse approached, the prophets of YHWH began to insist on a pure monotheism.

YHWH tells Hosea to take a promiscuous wife Continue reading “Who’s shameless?”

Poor Martha

21 July 2013
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 11C (RCL)
Amos 8:1-12
Psalm 52
Colossians 1:15-28
Luke 10:38-42

Amos is generally agreed to be the first prophetic book in the Bible, and as such one of the earliest written biblical works to come to us in its original form. Amos is a thoroughly pessimistic work — there isn’t a lot of hope in its prophecies. Amos, a peasant from the southern kingdom, came north to call Israel to judgment. The crime seems to be the exploitation of the poor (and not just by the rich, but even the poor preying on the poor). The merchants in this passage can hardly wait for the sabbath to be over, so they can get back to their cheating. Apparently, the rich would extend credit to the poor, and then take their land when they couldn’t pay (selling the poor for a pair of sandals — sandals being the exchanged in the exchange of land — cf Ruth 4:7). A friend managed a rural Walmart Continue reading “Poor Martha”