Sunday, February 08, 2009


'Glimpse of ... creation redeemed and restored'

You know, sittin' around the deacons' table with me yesterday were a practicing Buddhist, a scattering of former Methodists, a Presbyterian or two, several former Baptists and at least one gay guy, maybe more, maybe a gay gal, who knows?

Theology and Christology ran the gamut, doctrine, too, although mostly toward the low end of all scales -- to the everyday level, where people live and die, here and now.

One way to crystallize the thing that we all can agree on is this:

God is (fill in the blank).

Jesus is just all right with us, and like Simon Peter's mother-in-law, we each have been healed, in one way or another, by His touch through other people, and now, having been raised from our sickbeds, we feel compelled to serve others, both inside and outside our faith traditions, such as they are.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION today at church:

Lord of Life, help us to remember that the kingdom is not built in a day. It starts with an act of love and compassion, and then it motivates the recipient to serve. In serving one another, the doors of heaven will open, and we get a glimpse of the possibility of creation redeemed and restored. Help us to receive love, and to love and serve others. The rest we will entrust to You. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, our Teacher and Lord we pray, Amen.


Ah, the KJV does a better job -- by using the word "ministered" -- than the NRSV, which only uses "served". The Greek verb is diakonos, which I thought you might find interesting, given your new role.

As our Pastor noted (we also use the Lectionary), Jesus entered the house of a strange woman, even touched her, and healed her ... all on the Sabbath. Just how many purity codes did that guy break in one action? Then, this nameless woman becomes the first woman deacon. Lots of cool stuff for such a short story.
Yep. Preacherman here dared to say she was the first deacon period, and that her response -- diakonos -- might have been the very genesis, if you will, of the church. Rich, rich, rich passage.
"... they told Jesus about her. So he went..."

The passage, and Mark as a whole, is also a swift condensation of the demonstration of love and prayer for others, and then the faithfulness of Jesus.
The faithfulness of Jesus -- wow! That concept is lost when Jesus as Superhero from the Sky is emphasized. But it's present in some old hymns and gospel songs that see Jesus's humanity as critical to ... everything.

"What a Friend We Have in Jesus" is one of my favorite hymns.
The mother-in-law serves as a role model of how our service to others is the appropriate response to Jesus' faithfulness in love.

How much more, then, is the Blessed Virgin's response to what God the Father asks of her? To give of her blood and flesh in order to enflesh God the Son: to be the human being who bears (generates, gestates, and produces) the God/Man who redeems the world by his appearing.

Just a note for you protestants.
Lisa preached on this, too. She noted, as Alan did, the taboo-breaking, but also noted the even more scandalous serving of a holy man/rabbi by a woman. It just wasn't done.
Ya know, the more I get away from my upbringing, the more I realize that any Christianity that isn't scandalous in its hospitality ain't ... well, it ain't for me.
Absolutely right, ER!

God choosing to host human flesh (and personhood) as his own was an absolute scandal.

God choosing to host a backwater occupied country as his place of revelation was an absolute scandal.

God choosing working men, tax collectors, perhaps political radicals, not a few women as his disciples was an absolute scandal.

God choosing to be attended to by women, to eat with prostitutes, rich men or poor men, to put himself under the power of the Sanhedrin, under the Roman occupier, under death by ignominious means. Scandal, scandal, scandal.

That God would open the way of Israel's covenant of salvation to Gentiles...

That the Word of God, the fulfillment and embodiment of Holy Scripture could live at the Right Hand and also in the believer's heart through the Holy Spirit...

The scandal of love and the vision of its explosiveness is always at the heart of our difficulty in believing.

We retreat to niceties, safeties, social institutions like bibles, marriage, money, differences as comforting facts that cannot change.
GKS noted: "Lisa preached on this, too. She noted, as Alan did, the taboo-breaking, but also noted the even more scandalous serving of a holy man/rabbi by a woman. It just wasn't done.'

So if Jesus was breaking these "laws", (ere they not laws?). Howdoes that jive with the note changing the law one jot nor tittle business?
It's also interesting that this healing is a freebe. She doesn't get commended for her faith, nor is she told that she's sick because of sin.

Particularly interesting given that this is from the earliest Gospel.
Until "all is fulfilled."

Jesus's death and resurrection fulfilled the law?

Or, Jesus central message: Love is the "but I say unto you" fulfillment of the law -- down to the marginalia?
Or, the Jewish author of Matthew would only let go of the law when they pried his cold dead fingers from it?
Maybe Jesus just liked seriffed fonts?
"Maybe Jesus just liked seriffed fonts?"
Very good.
Well if he didn't change tittles he of course had to like serifs, and he would have had to like them in Greek cause Aramaic nor Hebrew at the time had tittles.

So I guess this would be proof that Jesus spoke (and wrote) Greek.
I mean if the Bible is litteral and all.

Now jots, that another thing.
Don't be silly. Jesus read English. It's right there in my KJV.

My word verification word is "oxiled" which is what happens when a cow becomes a heretic.
Ha!. But, cows can pray a Bovina to be let back into the Holy Herd.
Isn't that the prayer that starts out, " Hail Mooooory, Full of Grass..."?
Thank you. Thank you very much. I'll be here all week folks. And don't forget to tip your waitresses. :)
You win!
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