Showing posts from April, 2015

The Fifth Sunday of Easter, 3 May 2015

The Fifth Sunday of Easter, 3 May 2015 Acts 8:26-40 Psalm 22:24-30 I John 4:7-21 St. John 15:1-8 Background: African Queens The story of Philip and the eunuch would been exotic in and of itself, but we are given more information that is equally exotic. We are told that the eunuch was “a treasury official” of the Candacem Queen of the Ethiopians. This is not the only reference we have to these ruler, or “queens regent” in Kush in the Nile River Valley. The term may be translated as either “Queen” or “Queen-Mother”, but it is definitely a title rather than a proper name. It is not only Luke who recalls this event (and Luke may be attracted to the exotic, here, because it sees the Gospel being given to more than the Gentiles of Europe), but also Pliny, Strabo, and Eusebius note not only the office, but the people whom the Candace ruled.   Legends about these remarkable women are many, some involving Alexander the Great, and the Emperor Augustus. We know their names,

The Fourth Sunday of Easter, 26 April 2015

The Fourth Sunday of Easter, 26 April 2015 Acts 4:5-12 Psalm 23 I John 3:16-24 St. John 10:11-18 Background:   Good Shepherd Sunday After the Vatican II reforms, and the wide acceptance of the Roman Ordo, specifically the Three-Year Lectionary that was quickly adopted by Episcopalians and Lutherans, the theme of the Good Shepherd moved from the Second Sunday after Easter to (in the new calendar) the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The readings that center on the shepherd images of both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, give background to the name. For most of us, however, we are at such a remove from rural life, specifically that of the sheepfold, and the tasks of the shepherd, that it is difficult to plumb the depths of these images. Too many stained glass windows have sentimentalized the image of shepherd and flock for us that the realities of this kind of life and its ramifications for our own living, are sometimes unattainable. There are two ways to go here.