Pentecost 22

These lessons move from the founding and foundations of monarchies to the foundations of worship and the founding of places of worship. In the first lesson the machinations of monarchy are in the background and the focus is on constructing an edifice in which and with which to worship God. Solomon is a better candidate...... Read More

Pentecost 21

The transitions of power in these readings are particularly well-timed, with elections in the United States and, an impending coronation in the United Kingdom, not to mention a shuffle of UK prime ministers. Yet an ever present danger in biblical interpretation is the temptation to map the ancient sacred stories onto the contemporary world and...... Read More

Pentecost 21: Jesus Son of Bathsheba

Let us pray: In the name of the One who waded in the waters of Miryam’s womb, walked the way of suffering as one of the woman-born, and woke from the grasp of death in the deep darkness of the morning. Amen. It’s good to be king. Power, wealth, control, fear, obedience, and wine, women...... Read More

Pentecost 20

Late again! Where does the time go. I assure you, if I were preaching every week, I would be more faithful. These passages deal with retribution and cycles of violence. Like many international and interpersonal conflicts, the present violence can only be understood in light of the historic violence but sometimes there is no shared...... Read More

Pentecost 19

The struggle for survival in the ancient world was a bloody business on a good day; add throne games into the mix and the slaughter could be epic. Many of those epic battles – real and imaginary – are churned out for small and large screens and consumed with gusto. Some few women swashbuckle through...... Read More

Pentecost 18

This week’s lessons are difficult. They present the incestuous rape of Tamar by her half brother Amnon, the complicity of her cousin who set her up to be raped and, her father’s abandonment of her after the rape. The physical and sexual violence that characterized David became a signature of his dynasty and descendants. I...... Read More

Pentecost 17

These lessons call for hard truth telling. Telling the truth about biblical texts and characters that we thought we knew. That we may well have loved. King David, from shepherd boy to Shepherd King, holy harpist and devoted dancer. And a mercenary. And a bandit. And a robber. And a rapist. And a murderer. And...... Read More

Pentecost 16

The lessons this week are marked by lamentation. One might wish to move some of these lessons around in the event of national catastrophe or even the remembrance of 9/11. But at the same time, on any given day, there are unspeakable losses somewhere, if not everywhere, people are hurting and grieving. Folk grieve losses...... Read More

Pentecost 15

Hello stranded pilgrims. I left you in the wilderness while I went off preaching. The sermon the Sunday before last, “Collateral Damage” is the Pentecost 15 reading in Year A. It shares the first lesson with Year W. What looks like a grand heroic episode in which David rescues his kidnap wives and the wives...... Read More

Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage: A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church, Year A, Proper 19: 1 Samuel 30:1–8, 17–19; Psalm 13; Matthew 18:10–14   David smote them from twilight until the evening of the morrow. None of them escaped, except four hundred young men who mounted camels and fled. (1 Samuel 30:17) David seems quite the dashing...... Read More