Community currency

28 August 2016
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 17C (RCL)
Jeremiah 2:4-13
Psalm 81:1, 10-16
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Luke 14:1, 7-14

This passage from Jeremiah lays out the sin of the people in vivid terms; they have exchanged the spring of living water for cisterns they have made themselves, and cracked cisterns at that. God has led them into a plentiful land, not a land of deserts and pits. The juxtaposition of life, and water, and abundance over against dryness, drought and famine runs throughout the passage. Alongside this juxtaposition is a second one: of dependence on the goodness of God over against a mistaken self-reliance. The prophet equates worshiping the Baals with an attempt to manipulate nature for one’s own ends. Throughout the prophets, this is connected with the corruption of the monarchy. Continue reading “Community currency”

The signs of the times

14 August 2016
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 15C (RCL)
Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-18
Hebrews 11:29-12:2
Luke 12:49-56

Many people react strongly to this reading from Luke’s Gospel. We have the picture of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” and an understanding of the Kingdom as peace on earth. And yet, here is Jesus telling us that houses will be divided against one another. This saying fits in with other sayings such as “If you do not hate father and mother, brother and sister, you cannot be my disciple.” We’ve been trained that Christianity is about loving our neighbors and especially our family. Don’t we go to Church together as families?

But here, Luke reminds us that the reconciliation of the kingdom requires a commitment to the message of the covenant, and not everyone will share that commitment. Continue reading “The signs of the times”

Fear or hope?

7 August 2014
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 14C (RCL)
Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Psalm 50:1-8, 23-24
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Luke 12:32-40

At first sight, the passage from Luke’s Gospel looks like Luke just strung some several loosely related sayings of Jesus to make this unit. The saying, “Do not fear, little flock,” seems to belong to what came before, which was a set of saying about not worrying about what to wear or what to eat, but it then shifts to an emphasis on incorruptible treasure. Then follows the saying about good slaves waiting for the return of the master from the wedding feast. If he finds them ready when he returns, he will have them recline at table and serve them. Then, we shift to the thief coming in the night. In both instances, returning master and thief in the night, Jesus (or the Son of Man) is the one who arrives.

This poses an odd contrast. Is Jesus’ return something to be anticipated with hope, or with fear? Continue reading “Fear or hope?”