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Showing posts from March, 2014

The Fifth Sunday in Lent, 6 April 2014

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The Fifth Sunday in Lent, 6 April 2014 Ezekiel 37:1-14 Psalm 130 Romans 8:6-11 St. John 11:1-45


Background: Ezekiel Ezekiel, the son of a priestly family, most likely spent most of his prophetic career outside of Palestine, most likely in Babylon where he was deported along with other Judean elites in the sixth century BCE.His early period in Jerusalem was probably during the religious reforms of King Josiah.Therefore his theology and his prophetic utterances are framed by these larger than life events: the recovery of a people’s religious culture, and its removal to a foreign land.He was active from around 593 through 571 BCE.His message was grounded in the classic prophetic tradition, that of speaking God’s word to the here and now, rather than peering off into the future.
The social and cultural context of his pronouncements and his writing are in large measure described by the vassalage of Judah to the Assyrian Empire, which had decimated its northern neighbor, the Kingdom of Israel, and…

The Fourth Sunday in Lent, 30 March 2014

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The Fourth Sunday in Lent, 30 March 2014 I Samuel 16:1-13 Psalm 23 Ephesians 5:8-14 St. John 9:1-41


Background: David
Which David shall we talk about?Is it the David of folk legend, the killer of Goliath?Is it the guerilla David, harassing the Philistines, and later troubling King Saul?Is it David the family man, struggling with the all too familiar family problems that beset his life?Is it David the musician and poet, who contributed to and inspired the psalter?Is it David the sinner, who reveals a tainted and fragile side to human leadership?Or, is it David the symbol – the first of a dynasty that would serve as the locus of Jesus’ heritage and destiny?For our purposes it seems to be the latter, and the first reading will be sufficient grist for our mills.David seems to be bigger than the “empire” that he actually ruled, and like other ancient leaders becomes a giant in our historical and liturgical imaginations.Interested readers might want to consult Robert Alter’s excellent book: The D…