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 »

September 2, 2012

Song of Solomon 2:8-13 James 1:17-27 Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 What does it mean to be a person of faith, a religious person, a spiritual person, or a member of the church? These are questions that I encounter and find myself discussing on a regular basis. From people outside the church, I’m often asked, “Why do people still go to church? What do they get out of it?” And with those inside the church – especially those who are actively engaged in leadership and decision-making – the discussion is usually around the question of what is most important in our faith. What is the foundation of our faith? What are the essential practices? What must we continue and emphasize, and what are the small “t” traditions that we can let go of at times as we move along with a rapidly-changing world. As I read and reflected on the scripture readings assigned for today in our lectionary, it was these questions about the meaning and significance of our faith and religious practice that were swirling through my head. Because each of today’s texts contributes some significant ideas to such a discussion, helping us to answer for ourselves and for our neighbours when they ask: “What is our religion really about?” Let’s begin with the Gospel. What better place to begin than with what Jesus said about it? It’s important to remember that Jesus was a religious man. He was a faithful Jewish person who studied the Torah and worshipped in … Read more »