Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I'm still plugging away on the lectionary. Here's some samples from the dozen or so I have not yet published:

Proper 16

I think the 21st century speaker can repeat these themes of community building without the language of worship or “delighting in the Lord” or stopping to explain who the ancestor Jacob is. Our rituals can involve more direct symbolism of where our attentions should turn. Whether those attentions turn on a certain day at a certain time, is not always that important. And there doesn't need to be lot of promises about springs of water or our needs being satisfied. It doesn't hurt to talk about how investing in your community has a tangible return, but the work itself should be its own reward. You may not see a direct payoff to serving up a free meal, but someone in that line will undoubtedly go on to contribute in a way that benefits others. That's how it's supposed to work.

The book of Jeremiah may have actually been written by Jeremiah, a prophet in the time of King Josiah. As we get further along in the Bible we know more about the people discussed. Jeremiah probably also wrote Deuteronomy. This "second law" of Deuteronomy was intended to fix the problems of Israel being exiled by the Babylonians. Here he's proclaiming his authority by saying God literally put words in his mouth. And he gets to destroy and overthrow. This is why we have secular governments and democracy now.

  Proper 14, on the Hosea text 

For Old Testament help, I frequently turn to John C. Holbert. This week, he lays it out pretty clearly. After discussing the odd behaviors of other prophets, he says, “…, but the use of a woman of the evening for an object lesson is quite something else. For those of us who are feminists—and I hope all you readers consider yourselves feminists, too—it is deeply offensive to use a woman as a metaphor for human idolatry. Such literary effects do nothing but demean women and hold men up for the crude and misogynist beasts that they too often are.”


Rather than try to understand the mind of a 1st century Palestinian who couldn't have heard of the word “science” since it hadn't been invented yet, I'll just make an observation. While Protestants and Catholics were killing each other for the right to worship differently, while thousands of new denominations were being created because new information about the Bible was coming to light and as people began to understand how the brain worked and that mental illness was not demon possession, we were also discovering that we are a small planet on the edge of a vast galaxy with galactic neighbors and all that took billions of years to come into being. We are gaining this knowledge so fast, the language is not keeping up. We are going to have to come up with a new word for “universe”. It's supposed to mean all that exists, but we are finding there is something before time and outside the boundaries of everything we know.

Proper 11

Amos then tells us what the punishment is going to be. Besides the terrible acts of nature, God will stop speaking to us. If we continue to act this way, this is what will be passed on to our children. If we teach them to be profitable business owners and managers, but don't teach them that the economy is built by people doing work then earning wages then buying the goods from those very businesses, then those businesses will fail. The lessons of how to create a prosperous country through a healthy working class will be lost. The ideas of educating your populous and providing a healthy environment will be ridiculed. This is what was happening when the Kingdom of Israel was crumbling. It has happened throughout history.

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