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Showing posts from July, 2017

The Transfiguration of Our Lord, 6 August 2017

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The Transfiguration of Our Lord, 6 August 2017
Exodus 34:29-35 Psalm 99 or 99:5-9 II Peter 1:13-21 St. Luke 9:28-36


Background: Mountains
In the setting of the Transfiguration we have an adaptation of ancient belief about the abode of the gods in Canaanite culture. Here Jesus is placed into the traditional abode, and with the traditional council in attendance. In an Ugaritic text we have a vision of how the god El receives ‘Asherah, who comes to the great god with a request for the god Ba’l. Look for the clues as to place and company:
Then the two set their faces Toward the mountain of El Toward the gathered council. Indeed the gods were sitting at table. The sons of QudÅ¡u-‘Elat at banquet, Ba’l stands by El.[1]
This image of god, council, rivers, and mountain is repeated within the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures (I Kings 22:19, Isaiah 33:20-22). The mountain is the seat of enthronement, and the rivers are the gates of the underworld. At this juncture sits the council who attends to the god. So L…

The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 12, 30 July 2017

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Pentecost VIII, Proper 12, 30 July 2017
Track One: Genesis 28:10-19a Psalm 139:1-11, or Wisdom of Solomon 12:13, 16-19
Track Two: Isaiah 44:6-8 Psalm 86:11-17
Romans 8:12-25 St. Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43


Background: Parables
Parables ask hard spiritual questions, or highlight pertinent spiritual issues, and yet they are immensely popular.  They are known prior to their use by Jesus.  A primary example of parabolic teaching in the Hebrew Scriptures is the parable that the Prophet Nathan uses to chastise David after his affair with Bathsheba (II Samuel 12:1-6.)  Unlike a fable, which often uses animals to teach a human lesson, or allegory which substitutes symbols for the main idea of the lesson, the parable here gives the reader, and David, a conjectural case worthy of the law courts and a guilty or not guilty verdict.  The parable leads David to recognize his own guilt in the situation that the prophet speaks against.  This connection between the Law and the parable helps us to understand the rol…