Captivities

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lamentations 1:1-6 OR 3:19-26 OR Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4
Psalm 137
2 Timothy 1:1-14
Luke 17:5-10

This week’s texts share, at least implicitly, the common theme of captivity. From Jeremiah’s lament over the destruction of Jerusalem and the hard life of servitude facing those exiled to Babylon, to the exiled Psalmist’s wondering about the very possibility of faithfulness for the remnant of God’s people living in a pagan land, to Paul’s words of encouragement to his young friend Timothy even as he (Paul) sits in prison awaiting execution, to Jesus (even Jesus!) reminding us that even when we do genuine good we are merely performing the duties of a bondservant who expects no adulation, we are reminded that whatever freedom we imagine ourselves having is always qualified by the fact of our allegiances or debts to persons or forces beyond ourselves. We are all, in some sense, captives. The question is, to whom or what are we captive? Read more

On Receiving Gifts

by Halden Doerge
(2 Sam 11:26–12:13a; Ps 51:1-12; Eph 4:1-16; John 6:24-35)

The readings for this week offer an odd combination of themes. Both the Old Testament and Psalm readings are quite clearly concerned with the fallout of the affair between David and Bathsheba (though perhaps rape might be a more appropriate characterization). The Gospel and Epistle readings however seem, at first glance to have little if anything to do with the first two readings. In the Gospel we hear about Jesus being the bread of life whom the Father sends down from heaven to give life to the world. In the Epistle we are reminded of the fullness of Christ’s gifts in and to the church, as manifested in the multiplicity of charisms and ministries which build up the body in love.

What, we wonder do David’s sexual exploits have to do with Jesus being the bread of life? Or the fullness of Christ as given to the church in grace? Much in every way, I think. Read more