Apocalypse now

3 December 2017
First Sunday of Advent
Advent 1B (RCL)

Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 24-37
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37

Well, it’s Advent 1, Year B, and so we begin the new year with Mark’s urgent apocalypse. It is a bit hard to find good news in Mark’s vision of the near future. Stars will be falling from the skies, the sun and moon will not give their light. The only glimmer of hope here is that the Son of Man will gather his elect from the four winds. And the passage from Isaiah doesn’t help much: God has turned God’s face, and so we sinned. The prophet ends up asking God to reform God’s people, and not to be angry forever. Continue reading “Apocalypse now”

God’s economy

19 November 2017
Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 28A (RCL)

Judges 4:1-7
Psalm 123
1 Thessalonians 5:1-7
Matthew 25:14-30

This parable sticks uncomfortably in our craw. If we are to read it as an allegory, with the man going on the journey as God, we get a picture of God as judgmental and even vengeful: take the talent away from him who has one and give it to him who has ten. We react strongly against this image of God. Continue reading “God’s economy”

Subversive saints

5 November 2017
All Saints’ Day, Observed (RCL)
Revelation 7:9-17

Psalm 34:1-10, 22
1 John 3:1-3
Matthew 5:1-12

First, a translation issue. The word the NRSV (following right from the KJV) translates ‘Blessed’ in the Beatitudes (from which they get their name) doesn’t really mean blessed in either of the sense of that word in English, either ‘well spoken of’ or ‘fortunate.’ The word ‘makarios‘ means something like ‘How honorable!’ The Beatitudes are not telling us about the future state of those mentioned, but instead, holding them up for emulation. If you want to be invited to anybody’s party, its these folks’! Continue reading “Subversive saints”