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Showing posts from September, 2015

The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 22, 4 October 2015

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The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 22, 4 October 2015 Job 1:1; 2:1-10 Psalm 26 Or Genesis 2:18-24 Psalm 8
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12 St. Mark 10:2-16


Background: Letter to the Hebrews
While attributed to Paul, many scholars feel that the Epistle to the Hebrews is not from his hand, although it imitates Paul’s style. The Greek of Hebrews is of a finer quality than that of Paul, showing eloquence that surpasses the writing of Paul. Because of its intricate connection with the Jerusalem temple, it was most likely written prior to the destruction of the Temple. There are other connections as well. Some see in its description of the priestly Jesus, a connection with the messianic priest found in the Qumran scrolls. Using this typology, the author describes Jesus as a true priestly messiah, not the militant one that the people of the time had expected. In a way, Hebrews is an explanation speaking to a time of great oppression, and likely war. Thus the book is an exhortation to the people to wa…

The Eighthteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 21, 27 September 2015

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The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 21, 27 September 2015 Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22 Psalm 124 Or Numbers 11;4-6, 10-16, 24-29 Psalm 19:7-14
James 5:13-20 St. Mark 9:38-50


Background: Esther In the Book of Esther we have an exercise in understanding the difficulties of the Diaspora, especially the disappearance of Jewish culture and faith due to assimilation, or the threat of genocide. Esther is a handbook devoted to these questions. In some sense it is also an etiology, explaining the customs of Purim, a festival that is not mandated in the Torah. The devices of exaggeration and an on-going narrative commend it to the reader. Similar themes can be found in the story of Joseph (Genesis 37, 39-50) and in the stories that surround the character of Daniel (Daniel 1-6). The stories of both Judith and Ruth also wrestle with these issues. In a detailed unfolding, the book reveals the characters, and then details their place in the story and their feelings. Finally, in the last chapters of…