July 6, 2008

Genesis 24:34-38Song of Solomon 2:8-13Romans 7:15-25aMatthew 11:16-19, 25-30 This is the season of the church year that is often called “ordinary time.” It’s the season after Pentecost, a long period without special celebrations until we finally get to Reign of Christ Sunday at the end of November and then the season of Advent in December. During this “ordinary time,” the lectionary readings can feel rather random. On a special Sunday, like Reign of Christ, or Easter, or even the third Sunday of Lent, the readings are chosen to connect with the particular theme of the day or the season. So when you read them together, they seem to fit together. But during ordinary time, there is no particular effort made for the readings to “fit together.” For the past few Sundays, we have been reading through the book of Genesis, reading through Paul’s letter to the Romans, and reading through the Gospel according to Matthew. The psalm (or in today’s case, the passage from Song of Solomon) is chosen to connect with the Old Testament readings. So, if you noticed that the wedding song we heard today fit very nicely after reading about how Isaac found and married his wife Rebekah… well, that’s the reason why it fit so well. Those who put together the cycle of lectionary readings chose that passage from the Song of Solomon to reflect on the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah. But they didn’t make any attempt to match up the readings from Romans or … Read more »

July 3, 2011

Romans 7:15-25a Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 John and Jesus were related. Their mothers, Elizabeth and Mary had been cousins and they were probably pretty good friends as well. Though the women were different ages, they shared an important bond of friendship and shared experience. They had been pregnant at the same time (a first child for each of them) and it was a bit of a miracle for them both as well. I wonder if John and Jesus spent much time together as they were growing up. And I wonder if they were friends. The only Gospel story we have about Jesus’ childhood is the one where the whole family goes to Jerusalem for one of the festivals. It’s the story where Jesus gets left behind while the rest of the family starts heading for home. He gets caught up in the temple talking about God with the older men. And no one even notices that Jesus is gone until they are well on their way home. I wonder if John was the second-cousin who reported him missing. Anyway, they could scarcely be more different, these two, at least by the time they had grown up: John, the bug-eating wilderness prophet, and Jesus, who was known to love a good meal with all kinds of company; John, who wore scratchy shirts on purpose, and Jesus, who could occasionally be persuaded to invoke the power of YHWH to keep the wine flowing at a wedding reception; John, who addressed the people who … Read more »

July 6, 2014

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 Romans 7:15-25a “Take My Yoke Upon You” All the way through the Gospel stories, Jesus shows up in villages, in cities, in the countryside, beside the sea, and in the middle of people’s lives, and he invites them to respond to his message, to his presence, and to his call. Jesus showed up beside the Sea of Galilee, and invited some fisherman to radically change the course of their lives. He said: “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” And they did. Jesus showed up in front of Matthew’s booth, and said to the tax collector: “Follow me.” And Matthew got up and followed him. Jesus showed up in the middle of a crowd where he had been casting out bad spirits and healing those who were sick. One person said he wanted to follow Jesus, but he just needed to take care of his father’s funeral arrangements first. But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Jesus showed up where a rich young man was wondering about what he had to do in order to be saved. He claimed to follow the commandments, so that wasn’t the problem. Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” And the young man went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Wherever Jesus went, he … Read more »