Archive for the ‘Sunday’s Scriptures’ Category
Proper 26 November 2, 2008
Matthew 23:1-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Micah 3:5-12; Psalm 43
Religious Fashion Shows
1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer. Read the rest of this entry »
Abraham Lincoln famously said (or is famously said to have said) that if he could find a church whose credo was the golden rule, he’d join it. He never found one.
Religious leaders confronted Jesus with a question of essence rather like that. You’d think it would be the first thing Christians learn, and that for which they’re mostly known.
“Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”
Jesus said, “”Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ 38This is the most important, the first on any list. 39But there is a second to set alongside it: “Love others as well as you love yourself.’ 40These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Read the rest of this entry »
I hear from zealous anti-tax folks from time to time, who usually pop by to take issue with my Poverty, Government, and the Bible essay.
Some are eager to prove that government shouldn’t be involved in helping poor people—catch your breath and plunge in here—because taxation is theft because it’s taken against our will and since taxation is theft it obviously isn’t God’s plan for governments to help the poor because God would not be pleased by stealing the money it would take to do so nor by helping the poor against the will of the stingy.
Well, hokum. Read the rest of this entry »
The oddness of the Bible—its miles-away foreign-ness—is, perhaps, too little allowed. Take this week’s batch of it:
Isaiah gives us a thrilling hymn of the end of tyranny and want. Perfect! But he begins it in a destroyed city.
Jesus invents a story of a king who can’t get invited guests to show up at his son’s wedding—finally replacing them with homeless and helpless folk—quite a wonderful tale! And then he tosses a guy who isn’t dressed right. But wait – how could any of his lately-discovered guests be dressed right? And isn’t it a little caddish to get so put out about it?
Why? Save it, preacher: Don’t give me that this means this and this means this. These stories are nearly impenetrable, and we fail the task of adequately communicating them if we make them simple: Jesus did not.
Impenetrable—but not completely so. The process of spilling all their odd parts onto the table before me and wondering, “What on earth?” is among the richest pleasures of life. And it is there amidst that strange mess that God defies expectations and reveals himself, refusing to yield mere information, but speaking in a way more wonderful.
What will we find here? Not much, if we simplify. Moralisms.
But if we let it stand with all its oddnesses, and let the oddnesses themselves become the clues?
Well, in that case, who can say?
Proper 23 A: October 11, 2008
Exodus 32:1-14 or Isaiah 25:1-9; Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23 or Psalm 23; Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14
Isaiah 25: God’s Hand Rests on This Mountain
1-5 God, you are my God. I celebrate you. I praise you.
You’ve done your share of miracle-wonders, Read the rest of this entry »