Monday, July 30, 2012

Sermon B 9 Pentecost Proper 12 — 29 July 2012

2 Sam 11: 1-14; Ps 14; Eph 3: 14-21; JOHN  6: 1-21

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice…  AMEN.
“Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” This is the 4th of John’s seven signs and part of John’s account of the Feeding Miracle. Each Gospel tells this feeding miracle: the numbers vary—crowd counts always do, and Mark named only the number of men; the time of year varies—here it was linked to Passover, and so the feeding prefigures the Last Supper, part of the Passover, and a forebear of the Eucharist; the emphasis is different—the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke emphasize Jesus’ compassion for the people, while John shows Jesus’ power and authority.) Here too Jesus escapes or retreats to the mountain not only for respite, but also to avoid the crowd’s forcing him to be king. He already understood that temporal power wasn’t his path.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Meditation for 2 Samuel 11: 1 – 15 and John 6: 1 – 21

Today’s readings ruffled my feathers. I found it hard not to see similarities to those killed to cover-up David’s having impregnated Bathsheba. How like the peccadillos and cover-ups of modern-day politicians. Today’s gospel shows us Jesus doing what he did present in the reading from Samuel: David orders Uriah into battle, where he will be best, taking care of the poor and hungry. It’s odd these days, when our politics are dominated by so-called Christians, that the poor and hungry are forgotten. Instead of the hungry being fed, the wealthy benefit with tax cuts while programs that might help the poor and hungry are cut. The same politicians who proclaim their superiority as Christians conveniently forget that Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to feed the hungry. What happened to "Go and do likewise” or even WWJD?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sermon B 8 Pentecost, Proper 11, 22 July 2012

2 Sm 7:1-14a; Ps 89:20-37; Eph 2:11-22; MARK 6:30-56

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice… AMEN.

What do you do for short-term or longer-term respite? Does it vary in heat or cold? What do you look for from that time, and how do you know it’s “worked” for you? Imbedded in the whole Gospel passage are these questions and sketched answers, but the feeding and healing narratives, and the four-fold preview of the Last Supper and the Eucharist, are so significant, the lectionary makers have cut the whole sharply.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Meditation for Mark 6:30 – 34; 53 – 56

What a good time of the year to listen to Jesus remind his disciples that they need to rest a while from their comings and goings to a “deserted place by themselves.” Not a place without conflict, but a place where they can hear something beating inside their hearts. For renewal. The poet Wendell Berry understands the same need:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sermon: B 7 Pentecost, Proper 10, 15 July 2012

2 Sam 6:1-5,12b-19; Ps 24; Eph 1: 3-14; MARK 6: 14-29

In the name of God who created us…now & always. AMEN

…”for Herod feared John, knowing he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.” Then the whole sorry story unfolds. Here are the homilies usually preached on this scripture, ones I’m not going to preach — remember that’s caller praeteritio — The Hebrew Scripture, a fine story, shows David leaping, dancing and making burnt offerings, but then taking, blessing and giving out food to the people, as was their custom. Was that foreshadowing Jesus and his actions, without the unseemly (too bad) leaping and dancing. Or a pious homily on the Ephesians, and that we have received, and we have, all spiritual blessings.

Friday, July 13, 2012


A highly recommended link: Jan Richardson is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, author, modern painter in the medieval tradition of illuminated manuscripts (you can find these copyrighted images online.) She is a very thoughtful Biblical commentator, as well. Here’s a taste of her thinking about this Sunday’s gospel:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sermon: 6 B Pentacost (Proper 9) 8 July 2012

2 Sam 5:1-5,9-10; Ps 48; 2 Cor 12:2-10; MARK 6:1-13

This is our God forever and ever; God shall be our guide for evermore. AMEN.

“Prophets are not without honor, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” Prophets receive great honor everywhere but their hometown, families and friends. Jesus makes this dreary, often true, remark when he goes home briefly. He could only do “some healings,” with the implication, that if you’re very sick, you’re willing even to let the hometown boy try to heal you, because you haven’t much to lose; for weighty matters, a stranger would know more than you know, more than what your neighbors or teachers, friends, officials, and other homefolk know. If you’re having a problem, if you could have, someone of the homefolks would (or should) have solved it, and they didn’t—so what good are your own resources?

MEDITATION: Mark 6:1-13

Jesus goes home and is not well-received. In Mark’s Gospel,  Jesus though surely discouraged, does not whine. On the contrary he encourages his disciples in pragmatic ways: have conviction, stick to it, go out to love and heal. Again this Sunday, the Gospel is a two-part narrative and brought into useful relief by two Jesus goes home and is not well-received. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus though surely discouraged, does not whine. On the contrary he encourages his disciples in pragmatic ways: have conviction, stick to it, go out to love and heal.

Monday, July 2, 2012

B 5 Pentecost 1 July 2012

2 Sam 1:1, 17-27; Ps 130; 2 Cor 8:7-15; MARK 5:21-43

Let us wait for the Lord…in whose word is my hope.AMEN.

Today we hear a tense, story within a story, a sandwiched story. It pictures Jesus in action, showing who he is by showing what he does. It’s worth pausing to comment about Mark’s Gospel, its goals and techniques, because we’ll hear chunks until Advent. Today’s healings are one story, typical of Mark in form and content.