Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bumper Sticker of the Week

Blogging Towards Sunday, December 18th
The Fourth Sunday of Advent:  
3 Women | Prince | God's Radical Love

Jesus and his friends return to Israel after their failed (or was it?) effort to proclaim the gospel good news on the other side of the Sea of Galilee (the Gentile Side, present day Syria and Jordan).  As he returns to his land, his people and his culture, he’s met with overwhelming needs, hopes and prayers.  Our Mark passage today focuses upon a chiastic story: a story (of the bleeding woman who comes to Jesus) sandwiched within another story (the dead girl, whose father comes to him for help).  This was a customary Jewish way of telling stories and writing, a lot like we look for a tight relationship between an introduction and a conclusion.  The contrast between these two women in need of healing and wholeness is also paralleled by the Lectionary texts in Luke 1 which lift up the story of Mary, another woman that God seeks out to involve in his company’s radical idea of a Christmas Party: a reversal of the way things are done in the world.  Today’s texts invite us to take a closer look at the world at Christmas:  God comes into the world not to condemn it, but to heal, liberate and transform it.  Are we then called to flee it, conform to it, or engage it?

What’s the rock star Prince got to do with it?

The 80s rock star Prince, often condemned for overtly sexual lyrics and actions, is commonly recognized as a musical composer, albeit in a different style than Bach or Mozart.  A song of his  “Let’s Get Crazy” lifts up the theme that I see underneath our three scriptures: the incarnation :: God’s radical commitment to our world.  Here are the beginning lyrics of that rock song:

Thursday, December 08, 2011

 Blogging Towards Sunday, December 11th
The Third Sunday of Advent:  Deliverance

Jesus and his friends arrive on the other side (the Gentile Side, present day Syria and Jordan) of the Sea of Galilee after the rapidly arising storm in which the messianic power of Jesus is demonstrated to the disbelief of the disciples (Mark 4:35-41).  Arriving in a foreign land, Jesus is surprisingly accosted by a foreign occupying power.  The third Sunday of Advent is the “joy” Sunday, focusing on the joy of the reversal of the depressing and destructive power of evil in the world in the light of the birth of the Christ Child.  Yet is liberation always good news?  Does freedom always bring us joy?

Friday, December 02, 2011

Bumper Sticker of the Week

Blogging Towards Sunday, December 4th

Today’s passage of Mark follows the Jesus’ teaching about how God works in the world with several parables. Beginning with the Sower and the Seed (Mark 4:1-20) the parables portray the mysterious aspect of the dominion of God which starts slow, unexpectedly in ways that we overlook as human beings, yet it grows – despite us – and emerges to completely transform the universe. Mark tells us that Jesus repeatedly told stories in parable form, untying the confusing knots that people seemed to have tied themselves up into as they sought to understand God.