Archive for May, 2013

Such faithfulness

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

2 June 2013
Second Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 4C (RCL)
1 Kings 18:20-39
Psalm 96
Galatians 1:1-12
Luke 7:1-10

Welcome to ordinary time. The readings from Scripture for this Sunday seem unconnected (and any connection will be accidental) since we are reading from different books “in course.” For the Old Testament, we are reading stories from the Elijah/Elisha cycle. For the epistle, we are reading Galatians in course, and in the Gospel, we are plowing our way through Luke for much of the rest of the year.

The Elijah cycle is a tradition that comes from the northern kingdom (Israel) after the separation from Judah, and is anti-monarchical. The contest with the prophets of Baal sets out the great conflict in the northern kingdom between YHWH, a God of a wandering people under Moses, and the agricultural gods of Caanan. Agricultural gods need to guarantee fertility (more…)

Delight

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

26 May 2013
Trinity Sunday
Trinity C (RCL)
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Psalm 8
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

The joke goes that the curate always gets to preach Trinity Sunday, not because the rector wants to test his or her orthodoxy, but because the rector doesn’t want to have to preach the Trinity. Having no curate . . . In fact, however, I enjoy preaching the Trinity. Not sure if parishioners enjoy hearing, however.

The difficulty is that we modern western Europeans tend to identify person and individual. We have no definition of person that takes account of relational context. We define person, for purposes of economic and social theory, as the self-interested individual. Governments (more…)

Spirit-ed identity

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

19 May 2013
The Feast of Pentecost
Pentecost C (RCL)
Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104:25-35, 37
Romans 8:14-17
John 14:8-17

Each of the biblical authors who deals with the Spirit of God seems to have a different understanding of that Spirit. That makes our lessons for this Sunday not seem to hang together very well. However, Pentecost is one of those days especially appropriate for Baptism or the renewal of baptismal vows. In that regard, we can see the agency of the Spirit in establishing the church.

In the reading from Acts (more…)

Shaking the foundations

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

12 May 2013
Seventh Sunday of Easter
Easter 7C (RCL)
Acts 16:16-34
Psalm 97
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
John 17:20-26

This is the Sunday between Ascension and Pentecost, so in some regard, the focus is on the upcoming gift of the Spirit. In the readings for this Sunday, the focus is pretty oblique.

The reading from Acts seems almost novelistic in the way it relates the story of release of Paul and Silas from prison. I find allusions to the tomb (the innermost chamber of the prison, the stocks) and the resurrection (the earthquake), and it certainly fits with Luke’s narrative purpose to show the apostles recapitulating the ministry of Jesus. But I think the point almost slips past us because of our familiarity with the language.

The slave girl, we are told, had the spirit of a python (more…)

Where we’re going

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

5 May 2013
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Easter 6C (RCL)
Acts 16:9-15
Psalm 67
Revelation 21:10, 22 — 22:5
John 14: 23-29

In all of this conversation in John’s Gospel, in which Jesus has said he is going away and we cannot come, but he is going to prepare a place, and will take us to himself so that where he is we might also be, it would be understandable if the disciples (and we) got a little confused. At 14:19, Jesus says that in a little while, the world will no longer see him, but we will, “because I live and you live.” So, Judas, not Iscariot, asks, “How is it that you are about to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”

If we remember that John’s community (more…)