The law of liberty

2 September 2018
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 17B (RCL)

Song of Solomon2:8-13
Psalm 45:1-2, 7-10
James 1:17-27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

We’ve now finished our course of historical reading in the semi-continuous OT track, having come as far as Solomon’s consecration of the Jerusalem Temple. For the rest of the year, we will read passages from wisdom literature. We start with a passage from the Song of Songs, or the Song of Solomon. I suppose we start there because of the connection with Solomon. But, if Solomon wrote this, he wrote most of it from the perspective of the woman. Continue reading “The law of liberty”

Gnawing flesh, drinking blood

26 August 2018
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 16B (RCL)

1 Kings 8:1, 6, 10-11, 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69

The way the Hebrew Bible comes to be arranged (as distinct from the Christian Old Testament), it serves as an etiology of the Second Temple, ending as it does with Darius’ decree at the end of the second book of Chronicles. Here, the story of David ends, and that of Solomon begins as an etiology for the First Temple. In the reading we had last week, all of David’s crimes are whitewashed, and he becomes the ideal king, and Solomon prayer for wisdom, and God granted it, despite the fact that he used to offer hecatombs at the high place at Gibeon, married foreign queens, set up an Asherah, and all the rest that subsequent kings would be accused of. I guess as long as you build a beautiful temple, you can be forgiven much. Continue reading “Gnawing flesh, drinking blood”

Who’s eating whom?

12 August 2018
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 14B (RCL)

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
Psalm 130
Ephesians 4:25 – 5:2
John 6:35, 41-51

In our semi-continuous reading of 2 Samuel, we skip over all the lurid bits – the rape of Tamar, Absalom’s revolt, David’s flight, and return – the whole interesting history of the monarchy of David. Funny that one of the songs he should be remembered for reads, “The Lord repaid me as my righteousness deserved; because my conduct was spotless he rewarded me, for I have kept to the ways of the Lord and have not turned from my God to wickedness” (2 Samuel 22:21-22). Continue reading “Who’s eating whom?”

Come to Jesus

5 August 2018
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 13B (RCL)

2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a
Psalm 51:1-13
Ephesians 4:1-16
John 6:24-35

This week, we continue the story of David and Bathsheba with Nathan’s parable of judgment. Speaking judgment directly to the king could be a risky business, so Nathan has to find a way to get David to pronounce the judgment himself. The parable of the rich man and the poor man and their sheep is the perfect device. It subtly reminds the king that his vocation is to guard the poor, rather than side with the rich, and calls David out for his specific crime at the same time. Continue reading “Come to Jesus”