Lost and found

31 March 2019
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Lent 4C (RCL)

Joshua 5:9-12
Psalm 32
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

The parable of the Lost Son comes as the third of three parables concerning things lost and found. The first is the one sheep out of 99, and the second is the one coin out of ten. Now, we have one of two. Stories of younger sons and elder sons abound in the scriptures of Israel. Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brothers – always the younger son comes out on top. Perhaps Israel experienced itself as the unlikely, lucky younger son. Continue reading “Lost and found”

Unless you repent

24 March 2019
Third Sunday in Lent
Lent 3C (RCL)

Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 63:1-8
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Luke 13:1-9

We have an odd collection of readings this Sunday. In the Revised Common Lectionary, the Old Testament lessons are not chosen specifically to complement the Gospel: instead, we read “in course” through some of the great moments in salvation history. The revelation of the divine name is one of those moments. Continue reading “Unless you repent”

Tell that fox

17 March 2019
Second Sunday in Lent
Lent 2C (RCL)

Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Psalm 27
Philippians3:17 – 41
Luke 13:31-35

The passage from Genesis records an unusual covenantal ritual – nothing of the kind is recorded elsewhere in scripture (except an allusion in Jeremiah 34:18-20). This is clearly not a sacrifice — some of the animals are female, and three years old, and they are not eaten or burned. The allusion in Jeremiah suggests that the point of the ritual was to call God to witness an agreement and render anyone who broke the agreement like the cut animals. Continue reading “Tell that fox”

Save us from trial

10 March 2019
First Sunday in Lent
Lent 1C (RCL)

Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13

I have read a number of commentaries in which the temptations of Jesus are compared to the temptations of Israel in the wilderness, implying that where Israel failed, Jesus resisted the temptation. Jesus recapitulates Israel’s history. Early christian authors (like Paul, for instance) certainly used the device of recapitulation to tell the story of Jesus (sea crossings and wilderness feedings recapitulate the Moses story). Forty days in the wilderness recapitulates forty years of wilderness wandering. Continue reading “Save us from trial”