Archive for February, 2018

Get these things out of here!

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

4 March 2018
Third Sunday in Lent
Lent 3B (RCL)

Exodus 20:1-7
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

John’s Gospel moves the Temple act from the end of Jesus’ ministry to near the beginning. If anything like the Temple act really took place, it seems unlikely that the Roman protectors (oppressors) of Jerusalem would have waited for a trial to crucify the instigator. It makes much more historical sense at the end of Jesus’ ministry, so we are forced to ask why John would move it to the beginning. (more…)

To lose one’s life

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

25 February 2018
Second Sunday in Lent
Lent 2B (RCL)

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:22-30
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38

What the editors of the lectionary choose to leave out as much as what they choose to leave in always puzzles me. In the missing verses of the passage from Genesis, God gives the covenant mark of circumcision. This is a new aspect of the covenant, and so carries some importance. Paul will make much of it in his reading of the Abrahamic covenants. Also, in Mark’s Gospel, the editors chose to leave off the verses at the beginning, in which Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, which frames the whole paragraph that follows. (more…)

Wild beasts

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

18 February 2018
First Sunday in Lent
Lent 1B (RCL)

Genesis 9:8-17
Psalm 251-9
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark a:9-15

The wild beasts in the wilderness as they show up in Mark’s Gospel here pose an interesting puzzle. Why this detail. Most commentators that I can find suggest one of two things – either to intensify the terror of the wilderness, or to suggest the presence of the first human being with the beasts in Eden (or the peaceable kingdom which would recreate that first Edenic state). The word being translated “wild beast” (therion), does indeed occur in the Genesis account of creation. Interestingly, it also occurs in the story of Noah. I think the connection of time-period (forty days) makes this association more likely than the others. (more…)

Restoring the broken

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

4 February 2018
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Epiphany 5B (RCL)

Isaiah 40:21-30
Psalm 147:1-12, 26C
1 Corinthians 9: 16-23
Mark 1:29-39

Everything in Mark’s Gospel happens abruptly. Jesus is in Capernaum one day, and then off again. All of this happens on the Sabbath (or just after). Jesus and those with him return from synagogue to Simon’s house and find Simon’s mother-in-law in bed with a fever. Jesus takes her by the hand and she serves them. We read this and cringe – the only role for a woman is serving. (more…)