Showing posts from September, 2012

The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 21 - 30 September 2012

The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 21 - 30 September 2012 Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29 Psalm 19:7-14 James 5:13-20 St. Mark 9:38-50                                                                                    
 Background: Ecstatic Prophecy In the first reading for today we have an instance that may reflect the time in which it was actually composed, or we may have an early memory of first instances in Yahwism in which there is ecstatic prophetic utterance.  Certainly at the time of the Isaiahs, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others there were plenteous examples of prophetic ecstasy in which the prophet goes into a type of trance and offers visions of what God was saying.  This is not like divination, which uses some other object to “divine” what the god was saying.  Here it is language or even movement (cf. II Samuel 6:14) that mediates the message.  Oddly enough, the prophets that grace one of the scenes in Monty Python’s Life of Bri

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 20 - 23 September 2012

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 20, 23 September 2012 Jeremiah 11:18-20 Psalm 54 James 3:13 – 4:3, 7-8a Saint Mark 9:30-37        Background:   Jeremiah Following the writing of Proto Isaiah in the late eighth century, and the early part of the seventh century BCE, Jeremiah came from a priestly and wealthy family.   He was called to his ministry as a prophet in 626 BCE and was largely responsible for moving Jewish theology from a temple/community-centered enterprise to one that acknowledged the individual’s relationship with God and that spiritualized many of the concepts of Jewish practice at the time.   Like first Isaiah, Jeremiah had to deal with the politics of his time, making difficult pronouncements to the Judean monarchy.   Although he was active in the time of King Josiah’s religious reforms, he also dealt with other kings who were not as committed to the Yahwistic religion of Judah.   He lived to see the destr

The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 19 - 16 September 2012

The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 19 - 16 September 2012 Isaiah 50:4-9a Psalm 116:1-8 James 3:1-12 St. Mark 8:27-38                                                                                   
 Background: Caesarea Philippi This place name is so associated with this confession of Peter that I thought it might be interesting to talk about the place.  Located near the southwestern base of Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights area, it is the site of a spring and grotto and thus several shrines devoted to the god Pan.  Originally the site was named either Banieas or Paneas , reflecting the cult that had developed there.  The site is not mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, but is mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (and also in Thomas).  It was first settled by the Ptolomies (Hellenic rulers of Egypt) in the third century BCE.  Pan was the god of “desolate places”, so the site seems appropriate to that.  It is, however, loc