Showing posts from February, 2018

The Third Sunday in Lent, 4 March 2018

From Köln: The Third Sunday in Lent, 4 March 2018 Exodus 20:1-17 Psalm 19 I Corinthians 1:18-25 St. John 2:12-22 Background: Norms Last Sunday, I attended church at Christ Church in Amsterdam. If you did not realize that it was an outpost of the Church of England the chancel would have given you several clues, for standing far above the altar in breathtaking color and detail stood the royal arms – just to remind you whose values and cultural patrimony you were under the spell. As a friend of mine wrote about my experience, “the War of the Spanish Succession is not that far away in time or in influence.” Below that were other norms – The Words, or as we call it “The Ten Commandments”, The Lord’s Prayer, and The Apostles’ Creed. All of that was an iconic expression of all you needed to know. Our time is one in which we struggle to know what is the right thing to do. Many use the Ten Commandments as a rule without having taken the time to discover their c

The Second Sunday in Lent, 25 February 2018

From Amsterdam: The Second Sunday in Lent, 25 February 2018 Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 Psalm 22:22-30 Romans 4:13-25 St. Mark 8:31-38 Background: Covenant This is one of those terms that we assume that people know and understand. However, with the lack of biblical studies in general, such an assumption is probably wrong, and people need to be reminded of the import of such a concept. The notion of covenant appears in several aspects in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. The first of the covenants to be described in the Bible is the covenant with Noah ( last Sunday’s first reading .) In the story of the flood, God reveals his covenant with Noah not only with words, but also with the sign of the Rainbow. Other covenants follow, with Abraham, Moses, “the new covenant” of Jeremiah, the so-called “Priestly Covenant” made with Aaron and his descendants, the Davidic covenant, and finally the covenant of the Kingdom of Heaven, described by Jesus. All of these agree