Archive for September, 2017

By what authority?

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

1 October 2017
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 21A (RCL)
Exodus17:1-7
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

The religious authorities ask Jesus by what authority he does “these things.” In our lectionary, we have skipped over “these things” in question; Jesus had ‘cleansed’ the Temple – overturned the tables of the money changers and chased out those selling the animals of sacrifice, and healed the blind and the lame. At the time of the feast (Passover) with so many many pilgrims in the city, “these things” would have created quite a stir. (more…)

Whatever is just

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

24 September 2017
Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 20A (RCL)
Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

We often read this parable as an assessment of the reaction of Jewish Christians to the admission of Gentiles into their fellowship. Much like the story of the prodigal in Luke, which aligns Jewish Christians with the older brother who has observed the father’s commandments, we align the Jewish Christians with those hired first in this parable, who have born the heat and burden of the day. These late comers receive the same reward, and the first are justifiable perturbed. In my evangelical days, we read this as a comment on death-bed conversions. This interpretation did not make the bulk of Christians very happy. Why not play around until the last minute? (more…)