To the praise of God’s glory

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost; 11 July 2021; Proper 10B (RCL); 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19; Psalm 24; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29.

What a mish-mash of readings this week. The story of the beheading of John the Baptist has always puzzled me: what’s it doing in the Gospels in the first place? Why did Mark see the need to include it? It’s a rather lurid story, ending with a head on a platter. But we have the device of a drunken king and his court, watching his daughter dance as part of the entertainment at the party, and making an oath he regrets. It’s great drama in a short vignette.

Continue reading “To the praise of God’s glory”

Kings behaving badly

15 July 2018
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 10B (RCL)

2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19
Psalm 24
Ephesians 1:3-14
Mark 6:14-29

The story of the beheading of John the Baptist, in this form, is unique to Mark. Each of Matthew and Luke soften the story and move it to a different place in their narrative. It doesn’t ‘feel’ like a Marcan composition, but instead like a tradition he dropped into his own narrative. The first few verses very awkwardly introduce the flashback, which then reads like an integral narrative. That raises the question why Mark chooses to include it precisely here. Continue reading “Kings behaving badly”