30 March 2014
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Lent 4A (RCL)
1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 23
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41

The story of the healing of the man born blind is wonderfully rich and complex. It forms something of a centerpiece of John’s Gospel, and encodes a moment in the life of the Johannine community. The passage is the most dramatic in John’s Gospel (outside of the trial before Pilate), and the drama is advanced by the convention of having two interlocutors in each scene. The passage opens with (1) a dialog between Jesus and disciples, (1-5), advances to (2) the interaction between Jesus and the man (6-7), moves on to (3) the exchange between the man and his neighbors (8-12), (4) the man and pharisees (13-17), (5) the pharisees and the man’s parents (18-23), (6) the man and the pharisees again (24-34), (7) the man and Jesus (35-39), and finally (8) Jesus and the pharisees (40-41, although that scene really extends to 10:21).

In the first scene, the disciples Continue reading “I AM”

Encountering the other

23 March 2014
Third Sunday of Lent
Lent 3A (RCL)
Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42

Anyone thirsty? There is a lot of water in the readings for this Sunday. And in the reading from John, of course, water serves as a metaphor for something else. The reading is wonderfully allusive, and only hints at what we are thirsty for.

The story in John couldn’t be any more different from last week’s story. Last week, Nicodemus Continue reading “Encountering the other”

The Kingdom?

16 March 2014
The Second Sunday in Lent
Lent 2A (RCL)
Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 121
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
John 3:1-17

One has to feel a little sorry for Nicodemus. He comes to Jesus (at night), presumably to discuss Jesus’ teaching. He starts out by acknowledging that the Jews recognize Jesus is a teacher come from God. Of course, all the commentators point out that Nicodemus bases his assessment on Jesus’ signs, which leads to an incorrect understanding of Jesus. But, to be fair, Jesus’ response would have confused anyone. “No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born again/from above.” Nicodemus focuses immediately on the phrase born again/from above (the Greek word anothen has both meanings). Nicodemus hears “again” and not the other meaning.

Equally startling, however, is the mention of the Kingdom of God. Continue reading “The Kingdom?”

The quick fix

9 March 2014
First Sunday in Lent
Lent 1A (RCL)
Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7
Psalm 32
Romans 5:12-19
Matthew 4:1-11

In ancient orthodox theology, sin was defined as the misuse of creation. Our journey through Lent in this year, begins with one of the creation stories in Genesis; however, we leave out a big chunk of it. After God settles the human being in the Garden, God notices that it is not good for the human to be alone, and creates all the animals of creation to find a companion. None of them is satisfactory, so God creates the woman, who at last is a fit companion. God had already given the human being all the plants of the field and the trees of the garden for food, except for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The tempter tempts the human beings to misuse creation, Continue reading “The quick fix”