Who is honored?

29 January 2017
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Epiphany IVA (RCL)
Micah 6:1-8
Psalm 15
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Matthew 5:1-12

One does look with a certain ennui on the prospect of preaching on the Beatitudes yet again. We are so familiar with this particular passage, it seems hard to find something new to say about it. Gratefully, we have the passage from 1 Corinthians to provide a bit of relief. Continue reading “Who is honored?”

Mending nets

22 January 2017
Third Sunday after Epiphany
Epiphany 3A (RCL)

Isaiah 9:1-4
Psalm 27:1, 5-13
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 4:12-23

Don’t you wonder what would have compelled Simon and Andrew, James and John to drop everything and follow this random wandering preacher, announcing the coming of the Kingdom? Matthew provides us with precious little detail about the nature of the interaction between Jesus and these first followers. They simply follow. We are left to wonder what attracted them. Continue reading “Mending nets”

Behold the lamb of God

15 January 2017
Second Sunday after the Epiphany
Epiphany 2A

Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 40:1-12
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
John 1:29-42

This bit of John’s Gospel comes in the midst of the first piece of narrative in the Gospel. John (the Evangelist, not the Baptist) signals the scope of his theological project in this passage (the prologue has set the table for that project). When John (the Baptist) says, “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the cosmos,” we should be shocked. John (the Evangelist) is introducing a brand new theological category. Throughout the Old Testament, we encounter plenty of lambs, and many even that are sacrificed. The one that comes most readily to mind is the Passover lamb . . . but it does not take away sin. Continue reading “Behold the lamb of God”

A covenant with all flesh

8 January 2017
The Baptism of our Lord
First Sunday after Epiphany A (RCL)
Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm 29
Acts 10:34-43
Matthew 3:13-17

Among the Synoptic Gospel accounts of Jesus’ baptism, Matthew’s stands out for a couple of reasons. First, John tries to prevent Jesus from seeking baptism, by saying, “I should be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Secondly, in Mark and Luke, the voice from heaven says to Jesus, “You are my son, the beloved. With you I am well pleased.” In Matthew’s account, the voice says, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” Both these difference carry forward Matthew’s unique theological project. Continue reading “A covenant with all flesh”