Showing posts from February, 2012

The Second Sunday in Lent - 4 March 2012

The Second Sunday in Lent - 4 March 2012 Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 Psalm 22:22-30 Romans 4:13-25 St. Mark 8:31-38                                                                                     Background: Names for God Several names for God surface as we read through the cycles of the Pentateuch (The Five Books of Moses).  Some will be familiar, while others will not be, having been translated into terms in English, that mask their meaning or original usage.  The most common is YHWH, which forms an unpronounceable word that is now transliterated as Yahweh.  Since it was not to be pronounced, the reader would substitute Adonai (Lord) instead.  Other forms and names are: Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh , (I will be what I will be) spoken to Moses at the Burning Bush.  We see another name for God, Yah, especially in proper names that end in God’s name, such as Elijah, or Adonijah, or in the ending of the phrase Hallelujah (Praise be to God.)  Elohim (translated as “God” although it is actually a

The First Sunday in Lent - 26 February 2012

The First Sunday in Lent - 26 February 2012 Genesis 9:8-12 Psalm 25:1-9 I Peter 3:18-22 St. Mark 1:9-15                                                                                     Background: Covenant The Hebrew word for “Covenant” appears 286 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, and represents an important concept in both Judaic theology and later in Christian theology.   Its roots are in the Ancient Near East where covenants were made between peers, or between non-peers, with conditions or without conditions, in a religious context, or attested to by local deities, or absent all of that.   There are several prominent stories in the Hebrew Scriptures that illustrate the various covenants addressed to the patriarchs such as Noah, Abraham (who had at least 4 separate covenants), Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David.   Several writers in the Hebrew Scriptures take aspects of covenantal terms, and shape further theological statements around them.   One such idea is the notion of

Ash Wednesday - 22 February 2012

Ash Wednesday - 22 February 2012 Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 Psalm 103:8-14 II Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 St. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21                                                                                     Background: Ashes The imposition of ashes has deep roots in the usage of the Hebrew Scriptures and perhaps other cultures as well.   It was a way of signifying to others mourning, or of penitence as well.   There are examples of this practice in most of the cultures of the Ancient Near East.   The biblical witness is full of examples as well.   Readings from Job (42:3-6) and Jeremiah 6:26 (O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes.   Daniel (9:3) mentions the practice as well (I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.)   The ancient practice is tied to what is expected during Lent, the ashes, the sackcloth (seen in many an English parish as the “Lenten Array” that hides the altar and its decorations, and the