Resurrected wounds.

3 April 2016
Second Sunday of Easter
Easter 2C (RCL)
Acts 5:27-32
Psalm 150
Revelation 1:4-8
John 20:19-31

It’s almost too bad that these lessons have been assigned traditionally to the Second Sunday of Easter, often called “low Sunday.” These lessons are some of the richest to preach on, and so many miss the chance to hear them. A local ELCA congregation has the name St. Thomas/Holy Spirit, and they celebrate this day as their feast day.

Thomas is an interesting character in early Christianity. His Gospel is often taken to be the kind of sayings source that would have had currency in gnostic circles. John seems to be using him as the spokesman against a kind of docetic Christianity in this story. It would have horrified gnostic/docetic Christians to touch the wounds of Jesus. Could anything be more fleshy? Continue reading “Resurrected wounds.”

Journeying into Easter

27 March 2016
Easter Sunday
Easter C (RCL)
Isaiah 65:17-25
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
1 Corinthians 15:19-26
John 20:1-18

Easter Sunday feels like the culmination of the Triduum, the great three days. On Thursday and Friday, we are living in to preparation for the great feast. But the readings for Easter Sunday always feel a little anticlimactic. I’m left wondering “now what?” Continue reading “Journeying into Easter”

Entering Jerusalem

20 March 2016
Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion
Passion Sunday Year C (RCL)
Luke 19:28-40
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Luke 22:14 — 23:56

Luke modifies Mark’s passion story in some fairly significant ways. He adds the trial before Herod, which occurs in neither Mark nor Matthew. He adds the lament over Jerusalem (19:41-44). In his account of the last supper, he includes a cup of wine both before and after the meal. These and many other details open interesting questions to ask of Luke. Continue reading “Entering Jerusalem”

Anointing Jesus’ feet

13 March 2016
Fifth Sunday in Lent
Lent 5C (RCL)
Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalm 126
Philippians 3:4b-14
John 12:1-8

Each of the Gospels has a story of a woman anointing or washing Jesus’ feet or head. In Mark’s Gospel, it is an anonymous woman at a banquet at the house of Simon the leper. She pours the spike nard on Jesus’ head. Matthew leaves the story in essentially Marcan form. Luke changes it somewhat. Jesus is at a banquet at the home of Simon the Pharisee, and an unnamed woman woman washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. Simon wonders that Jesus does not know what sort of woman she is, and Jesus scolds Simon because the woman has proved a better host than Simon. The story becomes clearer when we realize that the flute girls who often danced at banquets would have had their hair down (and other women weren’t likely to attend banquets). That’s why Paul admonishes women not to come to a banquet without their hair covered. He didn’t want them confused with the entertainment. Continue reading “Anointing Jesus’ feet”

Do we need God?

6 March 2016
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Lent 4C (RCL)
Joshua 5:9-12
Psalm 32
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

This is a bit of a hurried entry – lots going on this week.

A younger brother (if there were two brothers) would have stood to inherit a third of his father’s property. The elder brother would inherit two thirds. When Esau sold his birthright, he was selling his claim on that extra portion of Isaac’s property. The blessing was something else.

When Luke’s (Jewish) readers heard this story, their minds would have gone back to all of the old stories of elder and younger brothers. Continue reading “Do we need God?”