Archive for June, 2017

The obedience of Abraham

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

2 July 2017
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 8A (RCL)
Genesis 22:1-14
Psalm 13
Romans 6:12-23
Matthew 10:40-42

Ooof. This passage from Genesis has enjoyed (?) a long and troubled interpretation history. Soren Kierkegaard wrote his work Fear and Trembling as a reflection on this passage. Just one example of the ink spilled over this passage. (more…)

Call me Ishmael

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

25 June 2017
Third Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 7A (RCL)
Genesis 21:8-21
Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
Romans 6:1b-11
Matthew 10:24-39

The lections are not happy ones. In an act of cruelty, Abraham sends away Hagar and her child, Ishmael. Jesus tells us that he has not come to bring peace but a sword. We do not like hearing these parts of scripture.

But I find something redemptive in these readings. (more…)

Trinitarian delight

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

11 June 2017
Trinity Sunday
Trinity A (RCL)

Genesis 1:1-2:4a
Psalm 8
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Matthew 28:16-20

Paul Davies is an English cosmologist, teaching at the University of Arizona. He is interested in the question of why human beings perceive a “time arrow,” that is, why human beings perceive time as running from past to future. In all physical equations, time can run backward or forward without changing the nature of physical law (the second law of thermodynamics being the special case, but not enough to account for human perception). This questions is intimately tied to the question of the quantum measurement problem (what happens when human perception “measures” a quantum system; how does that perception cause the collapse of the wave function into an eigenstate?). (more…)

A new creation

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

4 June 2017
The Feast of Pentecost
Pentecost A (RCL)
Numbers 11:24-31
Psalm 104:25-35, 37
Acts 2:1-21
John 20:19-23

It never ceases to amaze me that, after years of reading the same passages of scripture, one can notice something new each time. In the passage from John’s Gospel, the evangelist uses an unusual word to describe Jesus blowing on the disciples. The word is emphusao, which is what a flautist does to a flute. It occurs only here in the New Testament, but it occurs at least twice in the Old Testament in the LXX translation, once at Genesis 2:7 and once at 37:9. In Genesis, God forms the human being out of the dust of the earth, and then blows into its face the breath of life. In Ezekiel, God tells the prophet to prophecy to the spirit, telling it to come from the four winds and blow into slain. The evangelist wants us to connect this resurrection appearance to both of these events. (more…)