Showing posts from February, 2010

The Third Sunday in Lent, 7 March 2010

The Readings for The Third Sunday in Lent Exodus 3:1-15 Psalm 63:1-8 I Corinthians 10:1-13 Saint Luke 13:1-9 BACKGROUND In the reading from the Hebrew Scriptures we encounter an old and a popular story – the story of the Burning Bush.   In the reading we are given the opportunity to learn something about how the scriptures were transmitted, and how they were written.   The Hebrew word for bush is SNH (seneh) , and the name for the Sinai is SN.   Some commentators have the opinion that originally the story was about a fiery and burning Sinai (see Exodus 19:16-18 ).   The story still makes sense whether it is bush or mountain.   One can see , however, how the addition of a single consonant, can change the meaning of a passage.   Also of interest in the manner in which God is mentioned.   The names used are either “Lord” (the word “adonai” , or Lord, was substituted when the unpronounceable divine name (YHWH) was used), or “God” ( elohim ).   Most commentators think that Genesis

The Second Sunday in Lent, 28 February 2010

The Readings for The Second Sunday in Lent Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 Psalm 27 Philippians 3:17 – 4:1 Saint Luke 13:31-35 BACKGROUND If Lent is indeed a period of preparation for either baptism or the renewal of baptism, then we need to ask ourselves what it is that we can learn from today’s readings.   There is one aspect to the selection from the Hebrew Scriptures that serves as a background to so much of Jewish and Christian theology, and that is the notion of the covenant.   In today’s world, where agreements between individuals is hemmed in on every side by legalese designed to confound the reader, the notion of the covenant (read “contract”) probably needs some explanation.   Agreements of this sort were the stuff of the Ancient Near East, and we have examples of many of them.   Such covenants and contracts were either written down, or witnessed to in a ceremony such as we have in the first reading.   Gods were always a part of such agreements, and heaven and earth often ser

The First Sunday in Lent, 21 February 2010

The Readings for The First Sunday in Lent Deuteronomy 26:1-11 Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16 Romans 10:8b-13 Saint Luke 4:1-13 BACKGROUND The Lenten Journey is really a preparatory period for celebrating the great events of Holy Week, especially The Triduum (The Great Three Days), and even more importantly was a period of preparation for those who were to be baptized at the Great Vigil of Easter.   For those of us who have already been to the font, Lent can serve as a reminder of what we have turned from and what we have taken on in Baptism.   As we read through the lessons for these five Sundays, we will see a Jesus who teaches by both word and example, so that we can walk with him through these Forty Days. Deuteronomy 26:1-11   When you have come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the LORD your God is

Ash Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Readings for Ash Wednesday Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 Psalm 103 II Corinthians 5:20b – 6:10 Saint Matthew 61-6, 16-21 BACKGROUND Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and counts Forty Days until Easter (not counting Sundays, which are technically not a part of Lent).  The practice of using ashes to mark the beginning of this penitential season began in the eight century, and reflect an even more ancient practice of sprinkling ashes on one’s head as a sign of mourning, or of indicating sorrow for sins.  The ashes are made from the palms used on the previous Palm Sunday, and are mixed with water and chrism (oil) to mark the foreheads of the faithful.  In the liturgy the great penitential psalm 51 is read or sung, and confessions are made.  People are asked to take up the Lenten Fast, and from that invitation have come the various behaviors around “giving up something for Lent.”  Joel 2:1-2, 12-17   Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabita