Archive for January, 2018

A new teaching

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

28 January 2018
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Epiphany 4B (RCL)

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

This is Jesus’ first public appearance in Mark’s Gospel after the general announcement of the arrival of the Kingdom. Burton Mack makes much of the fact that it is an exorcism in a synagogue. Jesus arrives on the scene as the man of power, casting out unclean spirits in the synagogue. There is certainly a polemical point being made. Mack sees a remarkable contrast between the man of power in the first half of Mark’s Gospel and the crucified righteous one of the second half. I believe Mark has already telegraphed this contrast in the words from heaven at Jesus’ baptism, which quote both Psalm 2 (a coronation psalm) and Isaiah 42 (the first of the suffering servant songs). (more…)

Fishing for people

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

21 January 2018
Third Sunday after Epiphany
Epiphany 3B (RCL)

Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:6-14
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

No doubt, the designers of the lectionary chose the passage from Jonah and the passage from Mark to to with the collect: give us grace to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ. But called to what? It’s always struck me as odd that Simon and Andrew, and James and John would be attracted by a call to fish for people. I can never get the image of little people flopping around on the shore out of my head. (more…)

Connections

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

14 January 2018
Second Sunday after Epiphany
Epiphany 2B (RCL)

1 Samuel 3:1-20
Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
John 1:43-51

The first reading and the Gospel passage both have to do with stories of call; but the epistle reading sticks out like a sore thumb. Prostitution and fornication are not always happy topics for sermons! I realize we are now in “ordinary time” and the epistle is not chosen thematically, but perhaps we could have started at some other point in 1 Corinthians? (more…)

The voice of the Lord

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

7 January 2018
First Sunday after Epiphany
Baptism of Our Lord
Epiphany 1B (RCL)

Genesis 1:1:1-5
Psalm 29
Acts 19:1-7
Mark 1:4-11

The passage from Genesis seems an odd choice for the feast of Jesus’ baptism. The links are, I suppose, the Spirit, the water and the voice, but the reading from Isaiah for year A (the first servant song) makes a lot more sense. (more…)