February 1, 2015
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Epiphany 4B (RCL)
Psalm 111
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

This reading from Mark’s Gospel is abrupt, as always. Jesus’ first public act is to enter the synagogue in Capernaum on a sabbath and to begin teaching. Mark doesn’t tell us the content of the teaching, but tells us that everyone recognized that teaching as authoritative. Even the demon immediately recognized the authority of Jesus’ words. When Luke tells the story of Jesus’ first sermon in a synagogue, he gives us the passage from Isaiah from which Jesus preaches and Jesus’ sermon. Why would Mark not tell us what Jesus said?

I think Mark leaves us hanging in order to leave a question in our mind as we read the Gospel. What is Jesus’ authority and where does it come from? Continue reading “Demons?”


25 January 2015
Third Sunday after Epiphany
Epiphany 3B (RCL)
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:6-14
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

The story of Jonah has to include the most effective sermon ever preached in the history of preaching. “Forty days more, and Nineveh will be destroyed.” After that single sentence, the whole city was converted and repented. Jonah ought to have been thrilled with the results of his preaching. The humor in the whole story is wonderful, and this is certainly one of the funniest bits. We all (preachers) wish we could be so economical, as I’m sure our congregations also wish.

Jesus’ words in Mark’s Gospel are similarly effective. One sentence Continue reading “Networking”

A renewed people

11 January 2015
First Sunday after Epiphany
The Baptism of our Lord
Epiphany 1B (RCL)
Genesis 1:1-5
Psalm 29
Acts 19:1-7
Mark 1:4-11

In the old Episcopal lectionary, the first two readings and Psalm were the same for the First Sunday after Epiphany for all three years; only the Gospel reading changed. We had the accounts of Jesus’ baptism by John from Matthew in Year A; Mark in Year B and Luke in Year C. The OT was from Isaiah, the first of the Servant Songs (I have taken you by the hand and kept you) and Peter’s sermon to Cornelius from Acts was the second lesson (truly I know God shows no partiality). In the RCL for Year B, we have a snippet of the creation account in Genesis 1, and the story of Paul laying hands on the believers in Corinth, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, after they receive baptism in Jesus’ name. Continue reading “A renewed people”