Showing posts from January, 2012

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany - 5 February 2012

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany - 5 February 2011 Isaiah 40:21-31 Psalm 147:1-12, 21c I Corinthians 9:16-23 St. Mark 1:29-39                                                                                     Background: Capernaum This ancient village called Kafar Nahum (“Nahum’s village) was founded as a fishing village on the eastern shore of the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee) during the Hasmonean period ca. 140 BCE.  The town is mentioned most notably in Luke, but also appears in Matthew and Mark.  It is known as the home of Peter and Andrew, James and John, and the tax collector Matthew.  Jesus preached in its synagogue and performed healings there.  Isaiah 40:21-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to liv

The Fourth Sunday after The Epiphany - 29 January 2012

The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany - 29 January 2012 Deuteronomy 18:15-20 Psalm 111 I Corinthians 8:1-13 St. Mark 1:21-28                                                                                     Background: The Sabbath The Sabbath is an institution that not only influences Jewish life and spirituality but Christian practice as well.   Like a lot of Jewish piety, the Sabbath seems either to have roots in Babylonian practice, or to have influenced the same.   In the sixth century, the Babylonians celebrated days of prohibition on the 7 th , 14 th , 21 st , and 28 th .   Various activities were prohibited on these days, similar to the prohibitions of the Sabbath.   In Judaism there is the weekly observance of a Sabbath, guided by the lunar calendar, which also prohibited many activities as well. The day began at sundown, and concluded at the rising of three stars on Saturday evening.   The first creation story (Genesis 1:1-2:4) serves as the theological foundati

The Third Sunday after the Epiphany - 22 January 2012

The Third Sunday after the Epiphany - 22 January 2011 Jonah 3:1-5, 10 Psalm 62:6-14 I Corinthians 7:29-31 St. Mark 1:14-20                                                                                     Background: Nineveh Our first knowledge of this ancient city dates from ca. 1800 BCE, but it is not until the ninth century, that the city acquires the splendor and power that makes it notable in biblical literature.   The kings that attract the Bible’s attention are Tiglath-Pileser III, and Sargon II, both of whom made massive incursions into modern day Syria and upper Palestine.   The Northern Kingdom of Israel fell ca. 720 BCE, and it inhabitants were forcibly resettled in other regions of the Assyrian Empire (thus the “lost 10 tribes” of Israel).   In addition, attempts were made to conquer the Southern Kingdom as well with its King Hezekiah. This history earned for Assyria and its capital Nineveh a harsh place in the Israelite and Judean memory.   Thus it is no su