Binding and loosing

27 August 2017
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 16A (RCL)
Exodus 1:8 – 2:10
Psalm 124
Romans 12:1-8
Matthew 16:13-20

Just what exactly is Peter to bind and loose? Jesus will repeat this saying just two chapters later, after instructs the disciples on working out community disputes, so that it seems connected to community discipline. But when he says it to Peter, it is not necessarily in reference to forgiveness and reconciliation. Instead, it seems to interpret the saying about the gates of Hades not prevailing against the kingdom built upon the rock. Continue reading “Binding and loosing”


20 August 2017
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 15A (RCL)
Genesis 45:1-15
Psalm 133
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Matthew 15:10-28

The incident of Jesus confronted by the Gentile woman makes us uncomfortable: surely Jesus would never have been so rude, right? He essentially calls this woman a dog, a deep insult. Both Matthew and Mark include the event, so it is likely Matthew copied it from Mark. Both also include a double set of miracles of sea crossing and feeding in the wilderness. This miracle happens between the second sea crossing and feeding. Continue reading “Crumbs”

Stepping out in faith

13 August 2017
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 14A (RCL)
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b
Romans 10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33

The pericope from Romans is chopped up and badly translated. In the first five verses of Chapter 10, Paul returns to the theme he opened in Chapter 9 – his desire for the salvation of the Jews, for their entry into this new covenant that includes Gentiles. He contrasts God’s righteousness to “their own” righteousness. The NRSV translates “God’s righteousness” as “the righteousness that comes from God.” This entirely misses the point. God’s righteousness implies God’s faithfulness to God’s covenantal obligations. God is righteous regardless of what we may do or not do. A “righteous of their own” could be translated “a righteousness distinct to them.” The phrase implies that the Jews took God’s covenantal loyalty and twisted it to mean that they alone were righteous in God’s eyes. Continue reading “Stepping out in faith”

Divine transformation

6 August 2017
The Feast of the Transfiguration
Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99
2 Peter 1:13-21
Luke 9:28-36

The Feast of the Transfiguration, which falls on August 6, is classed by the Prayer Book as a feast of our Lord Jesus Christ, and as such, takes precedence over a Sunday. Consequently, we won’t read Proper 13 this year, but replace it with the Transfiguration. We’ll miss Matthew’s version of the feeding of the 5000. Continue reading “Divine transformation”