Showing posts from January, 2021

The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, 7 February 2021

  The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, 7 February 2021   Isaiah 40:21-31 1 Corinthians 9:16-23 Mark 1:29-39 Psalm 147:1-12, 21c   The Collect   Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.     Background: Demons   Elaine Pagels, in her book  Adam, Eve and the Serpent,  opens our eyes to a cultural understanding that might help us as we deal with the Gospel for today. “  Even those who resisted pagan culture had been deeply affected by it; yet they held to the customs that distinguished and separated them from their pagan neighbors.” [1]  Her observation is of Jews living at the time of Jesus and the Roman occupation of the Levant. Even so, what she says of that period of time would obtain for Jews living before that period. We can see the influence of Canaanite and Egyptian

The Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, 31 January 2021

  The Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, 31 January 2021   Deuteronomy 18:15-20 Psalm 111 I Corinthians 8:1-13 Mark 1:21-28   The Collect   Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.     Background: Authority   Diana Butler Bass tells the story of seminary students, who when asked whom they might turn to when having an ethical or spiritual concern, answered that they relied in people with whom they had a relationship, or the media, or the Internet. It is a different time for those who follow Christ, or who have any kind of religious life. The old authority seems to have drifted away. In two of our readings, the first from Deuteronomy, and in the Gospel, we have references to authority. The reading from the Hebrew Scriptures recognizes prophets as have t