The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 14, 7 August 2016 Track One: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 Psalm 50:1-8, 23-24 Track Two: Genesis 15:1-6 Psalm 33:12-22 Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 Saint Luke 12:32-40 Background: The Letter to the Hebrews With this Sunday we begin a series of three Sundays of readings from the Letter to the Hebrews – hardly enough for this beautifully enigmatic book. The authorship of the book is hotly contested, but that really doesn’t seem to matter. From Origen on there has been a high regard for the ideas of the book, and its elegant phraseology. In his commentary on the book, Hebrews – A Commentary , Luke Timothy Johnson, feels that contemporary Christians are at a significant remove from the world from which and for which Hebrews was written. Dr. Johnson succinctly describes the problem, “At least three elements contribute to the distance between ancient and contemporary readers of Hebrews. The first is the change in cosmology.
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The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 13, 31 July 2016 Track One: Hosea 11:1-11 Psalm 107:1-9, 43 Track Two: Ecclesiastes: 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23 Psalm 49:1-11 Colossians 3:1-11 Saint Luke 12:13-21 Background: Difficult Prophets I ran into an interesting conversation on Facebook this last week concerning Hosea. The poster wondered if others were abandoning the Track One reading from Hosea in favor of the Track Two reading because Hosea was just too difficult. One responder even commented that you couldn’t do just to Hosea in the average twelve-minute Episcopal sermon. I noted that I am missing the opportunity to preach on Hosea because he is out of the norm and the main stream. In Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, we have, I think, a fairly authentic representation of the ecstatic prophets – crazy making in their eccentricity. Perhaps that is the difficulty. If we scratch the surface of religion we find a substratum of the uncomfortable: sexual l