Archive for July, 2017

Apprenticed to the kingdom

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

30 July 2017
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 12A (RCL)
Genesis 29:15-28
Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

The trouble with chopping up readings from scripture is that we miss important contextual guides. In today’s Gospel reading, the first two parables are spoken to the crowds. Then we skip the verses where Jesus goes in the house and explains the parable of the wheat and the weeds to the disciples. The last three parables, and the instructions are spoken only to the disciples in the house — these are community instructions, while the first two are public proclamation. That changes the interpretation of each parable rather dramatically. (more…)

The covenant of holiness

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

23 July 2017
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 11A (RCL)
Genesis 28:10-19a
Psalm 139:1-11, 22-23
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Paul is always a good place to start. In this passage, Paul speaks of the adoption of Christians as sons (he uses the image of sonship in the Greek, for theological purposes – Israel was God’s son; Jesus was God’s son; Christians are God’s son) as fundamentally important to the salvation of the entire cosmos. Just as the first humans were to be the stewards of the cosmos, so the covenant with Abraham was to restore the distorted relationship between humanity and the cosmos. Now, the revelation of the glory of Christians as heir of God and joint heirs with Christ will finally accomplish what the previous covenants have not been able to accomplish: the restoration of the glory of the cosmos. (more…)

God’s profligacy

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

16 July 2017
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 10A (RCL)
Genesis25:19-34
Psalm 119:105-112
Romans 8:1-11
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

For Paul, the flesh is the arena in which we make distinctions between on and another: male/female, slave/free, Jew/Greek. Division is sin. We used the law to draw distinction, though it was intended to establish a righteousness, a community identity and cohesion. Therefore, in Christ, God did what the law couldn’t do, because we used it to draw distinction. He sent his son in sinful flesh to put the flesh (the realm of distinction) to death. And, now since we walk according to the Spirit, not the flesh, God has accomplished in us a new righteousness based on Jesus Christ, not on the law. (more…)

Keep it simple

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

9 July 2017
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 9A (RCL)
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Psalm 13
Romans 7:15-25a
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

The story in Genesis is rather shocking to our sensibilities; Abraham’s servant is certainly forward in putting a half-shekel gold ring in Rebekah’s nose, and two ten shekel gold bracelets on her wrists. And Laban is certainly forward in promising her to Isaac without her consent — although she does consent after the transaction has already been completed to go with Abraham’s servant right away, rather than waiting ten days. But the story certainly fits within a standard pattern in Old Testament literature (and even an instance in the New Testament) – betrothal at the well. (more…)