The end of “law”

File:Artists-impressions-of-Lady-Justice, (statue on the Old Bailey, London).png


Galatians 2:15-21

19For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; 20and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

If I had been a Pharisee at the time, I would have hated Jesus, too. And I would have hated Paul – hate in the Biblical sense of feeling no connection or sense of obligation. He is simply not one of us. (So, as with Simon, the customary courtesies don’t apply.) And when Paul begins to pull people away from the path of Judean observance…well, such a one is deserving of whatever ill fate befalls him. He is against everything I know about God and our identity as God’s people. He betrays core values of our community. His words are like someone burning a Qu’ran/Koran. They incite violence, just like an African-American sitting down at a white’s only lunch counter. You can’t transgress communal norms so willfully and not expect violence. Just ask Stephen, stoned to death by a mob.

Modern American society is no longer bound by such tight communal norms – although we still see its vestiges when crowds assault people for coming to hear Donald Trump. They would assault Trump, if they could, for he is violating core values of tolerance and inclusion. Such words must be silenced, shouted down, removed from the community.

I wish I knew all that Paul meant when he declares, “I have been crucified with Christ.” His world is far different than mine and I’m sure those words speak differently to him than to me. There is a kind of death of self that is part of true religion. A turning from a life preoccupied with my wants and desires to a life focused on what I can give, from self-centeredness to other-centeredness. It’s the turn towards compassion, kindness, generosity, sacrifice.

But I don’t think that’s quite what Paul means here. I think he means that his old life, defined by obedience to Torah, has perished in his encounter with the crucified and risen Christ. He has come to see that God’s favor does not come from the observance of Judean cultural practices. It comes from allegiance to the God who raised Jesus from the dead, allegiance to God’s work of bringing the kingdom, allegiance to the gathering of all nations and peoples to proclaim God’s praise, allegiance to the rebirth/re-creation of the world that has begun in Christ and is dawning for all the world.

He has died to the life he once lived, the way he once defined his identity. And now he has been raised into a new life, a new identity, a new vision of God and the world.

Those who talk about being “born again” understand something of this fundamental transformation and reorientation of life.

The notion that we are saved by some law is like a huge gravity well that tends to draw everything into itself. It is that fundamental assumption that there is some standard by which we obtain some sense that we are the right kind of people. It changes from group to group. The way we dress is a group marker. It shows our affiliation – and the people with whom we identify establishes our identity. Language, too, shapes our identification and identity. In Detroit, a black child could be mocked for “talking white”. Trump was mocked for say “Two Corinthians” rather than “Second Corinthians” – it was a tell revealing he was not an insider.

Custom, culture, practice, law written and unwritten, it is all part of the “law” that defined Paul. And now he has broken with that past and given his allegiance to the world of the resurrected Jesus. But gravity keeps pulling Jesus back into the realm of culture and custom, of “law”. People are right with God, pleasing to God, because they observe certain practices, be they rituals in church or personal prayer and Bible study. People are acceptable to God because they are generally good people, kind to pets, tolerant of children, decent neighbors, or because they have had the correct kind of religious experience. There was a time that people were acceptable because they put on their Sunday best and attended church each week, though that is fading fast. Success, education, political views, opinions about creation and evolution or sex and abortion are all markers of who is and who is not acceptable to God. This gravity well of “law” sucks Jesus and the human religious impulse into its center.

But then comes the resurrection of Jesus, this new reality in the world. What was once an event for the end of time when people would be sorted by their conformity to “law” has become a living reality in the midst of time. And the hope of a world transformed, set free from its sins and called back into the peace of God – a world that was thought to follow the general resurrection – that “age to come” is here now in this Jesus risen. And so Paul declares that he has been crucified with Christ. The old world is gone and a new one dawns.   And what matters now is not “law” in any shape, but allegiance to the new world God is making where sins are forgiven and bread shared and all people are regarded as members of one family (“love one another,” “love your neighbor as yourself,” “love your enemy”). The old has passed; the new has come.” This is the dawning truth of the world, and what matters now is allegiance to this new life of the risen Christ (“faith”).

It’s not easy to fight the gravity well of “law”. But the grave is empty and the door open for us to be born from above.

It’s why the woman bursts into Simon’s house ignoring all custom and law to declare her love and allegiance to Jesus and to give her most precious gift: herself.

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For other reflections on the texts for this Sunday from this and previous years, follow this link Lectionary C 11, or Proper C 6

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He sees



Luke 7:36-8:3

44Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?

Jesus is talking to Simon, but he is turned towards the woman who was washed his feet with her tears. If it is a typical banquet setup where the men are reclining, it means Jesus has turned from leaning on his left side with his legs bent so that the woman is behind him, and rolled onto his back to that he faces her. From that position his back is to Simon. Although he is speaking with Simon, the woman has his full attention. She has his face, his eyes, his heart.

And the question Jesus asks Simon is so simple, “Do you see this woman?” So much hinges on his response.

“Do you see this woman?” Or is she to you just another thing one scurries by on the street? People often avoid the homeless like you would a dog, or a trash fallen from a garbage can. We pass people without seeing. The mind registers a category not a person. A sales clerk. A police office. A waiter. We don’t consider that they are coping with a sick child or an empty house. We don’t consider that they are bearing burdens of shame or sorrow. We don’t consider that even standing there might be painful for them. They are as things to us. It’s why frustrated passengers seem so willing to curse an airline ticket agent. Years ago, on a flight home from college, a flight attendant (a stewardess, then) leaned over to ask a woman in the window seat if she would like something to drink. When the woman didn’t respond, she asked again, a little louder, but the woman continued to look away, as if looking out the window. The man in the aisle seat then spoke up and said, “My wife doesn’t speak with servants.”

“Do you see this woman?” If Simon could see, so much would be different. But he doesn’t see. He doesn’t consider. She is a sinner. An “it” for those who have read Martin Buber. And Jesus must be no prophet or he would not let her touch him. Jesus is an “it”, too, to Simon

But Jesus sees. Jesus turns towards the woman. He receives graciously her signs of gratitude. He sends her on her way in peace.

“Do you see this woman?”  So much depends on our answer to that question.  And so much happens because Jesus sees.

And because he sees us.

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The reference is to Martin Buber’s book, “I And Thou”

For other reflections on the texts for this Sunday from this and previous years, follow this link Lectionary C 11, or Proper C 6

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God is still God

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Nathan confronts King David / David in prayer and fasting with worried servants watching


2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:10, 13-20

15 The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became very ill. 16 David therefore pleaded with God for the child; David fasted, and went in and lay all night on the ground.

The prayer of a parent for a child is desperate. Even when death is certain, the cry rises. Seven days the king lies on that floor. Seven days without food. Seven days in urgent petition. Hoping against hope. Pleading with God.

We all know of David’s sin with Bathsheba – he abuses his royal power to take another man’s wife and then arrange the husband’s death to hide the crime. But the crime is not hidden. God sees. And God sends Nathan to confront David.

The consequences of David’s sin are brutal: A lasting legacy of violence will plague David’s house. A son will take all David’s concubines in full view of all. And this child will die.

The death of children is common in David’s time – but the prophet makes sure that David knows that the death of this child rests solely on himself. If there were no sin, there would be no child to perish.

Other kings have slain prophets for such a message, but David acknowledges his sin.   And David prays. Seven days. Hoping against hope. Desperate prayer. Tears. Against the greatest fear of every parent. Maybe God will work a miracle? But no miracle comes.

David knows God is a God not only of judgment but of mercy, so David begs for mercy. For the child. For the mother. For God to erase the consequences of his deed. But sometimes there is no recovery from the consequences of our deeds.

And then our text says:

19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, he perceived that the child was dead; and David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” 20 Then David rose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes. He went into the house of the Lord, and worshiped.

David worships. He comes before the altar. He offers his sacrifice. He hears the prayers and the song. He remembers this God of the Exodus. He acknowledges this God of Sinai. He communes, partakes of the holy meal. He goes forward. Life will not be easy, but God is still God.  And there is yet mercy.

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For other reflections on the texts for this Sunday from this and previous years, follow this link Lectionary C 11, or Proper C 6

Image: Paris psalter gr139 fol136v  public domain


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Watching for the Morning of June 12, 2016

Year C

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost:
Proper 6 / Lectionary 11

This Sunday forgiveness takes center stage. We hear the prophet Nathan confront King David about his murder of Uriah to cover David’s crime with Bathsheba. It is a brilliant effort, using a story of a poor man’s treasured sheep, seized and killed by his wealthy neighbor, to get David to condemn himself.

It is not clear whether Jesus has as much success with Simon the Pharisee, who invites Jesus to a banquet but shows him none of the honor due a guest. In scandal after scandal, a woman bursts in on the scene, washes Jesus feet with her tears and dries them by unbinding her hair. Simon concludes that Jesus is no prophet; a prophet would know this woman is a “sinner”. But Jesus knows both her and Simon, and with a story of two debtors gets Simon to acknowledge that the forgiveness of a great debt creates great love. Then, like Nathan saying to David, “You are the man!”, comes the piercing revelation of Simon’s lack of hospitality and hardness of heart.

We will hear of David’s repentance, but not of Simon’s, and the psalm will talk about these two responses: describing how the heart shrivels when sin is not acknowledged, and how life is restored when it is confessed and forgiven.

Sunday, our second reading continues in Galatians, where we hear Paul speaking to the congregation in Galatia asserting again that it is not the observance of Judean custom and ritual that makes us acceptable to God, but our trust in and allegiance to the God who raised Jesus from the dead. It is a message that leads him to joyfully proclaim:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The Prayer for June 12, 2016

Gracious God,
whose infinite mercy should prompt in us an infinite love,
help us to taste and see your goodness
and to share that banquet with all;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Texts for June 12, 2016

First Reading: 2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:10, 13-20 (appointed 2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:10, 13-15)
“Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man!’” –
The prophet Nathan confronts David on his murder of Uriah to hide his crime with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah – and David repents.

Psalmody: Psalm 32
“Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”
– The psalmist tells of the corrosive power of unconfessed sin, and the liberating mercy of God when he acknowledges his fault.

Second Reading: Galatians 2:15-21
“We have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.”
– Having shown that his Gospel was not delivered on behalf of any human authority but through his encounter with the risen Christ, Paul reasserts his teaching that we are not made acceptable to God by the observance of Judean ritual and customs, but by trust and loyalty to the God who raised Jesus from the dead.

Gospel: Luke 7:36-8:3
“‘A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?’” –
Jesus is invited to feast at the home of Simon, a Pharisee, but is shown none of the proper hospitalities. A woman breaks into the dinner and washes Jesus feet with her tears and anoints them with a perfumed oil. Jesus’ acceptance of her confirms Simon’s presumption that Jesus is not a prophet – but Jesus shows prophetic insight and speaks to Simon with a parable about two debtors and what is shown by great love.


Photo: By [CC BY-SA 2.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

To break the alabaster jar

Sunday Evening of June 16

Luke 7:36-50

A beautiful alabaster unguent jar

A beautiful alabaster unguent jar (Photo credit: mharrsch)

47Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

So the thing now to ponder is, “who are you in the story?”  Are you the woman coming to offer Jesus your most precious gift?  Or are you Simon, content with your own righteousness?  Does your love overflow, or is it measured out only to the deserving?  Do you owe Christ everything, or do you sit in judgment over him, deciding for yourself what is worthy and what is not in his teaching?
(From today’s sermon, “A Sweet and Scandalous Life” – posted in Recent Sermons)

We are Simon and we are the woman who comes to anoint Jesus.  We are “the righteous” who think God loves us, and we are the sinners for whom this is wondrous news.  Part of every human heart thinks we are above the curve and God owes us – finding plenty of “sinners” in the news in comparison with whom we look as though we are deserving of heaven.  But part of every human heart knows we are not what we should be and is moved by the Amazing Grace of God that finds us.  And which part will govern our lives?  What fruit will it bear?  Will Simon’s constricted love flow from our hearts, or the woman’s extravagant love?

Jesus keeps coming for us.  Sunday after Sunday.  Day after day.  The spirit calls.  The voice of God written in the creation beckons.  The voice of God speaking through the text summons us.  To see the extravagance of God’s love.  To live the woman’s daring devotion.  To break the alabaster jar in joy.

A sweet and scandalous life


Luke 7:40

Anointing of Jesus

Anointing of Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Simon, I have something to say to you.”

Sunday’s gospel reading is one of the sweetest and most scandalous events in the sweet and scandal filled life of Jesus.  He has become a celebrity.  Word about him has spread through the countryside.  People know not only that he has healed the sick and cast our evil spirits; he has eaten with the ritually unclean and morally suspect ‘sinners and tax collectors.’  He has proclaimed that God loves sinners (rather than the message that God loves the righteous), and now he is going to dine with ‘the righteous’.

There is a huge crowd watching this encounter between Simon and Jesus.  Banquets in the ancient world were public affairs.  Rules governed who sits where and when according to your honor status.  Everyone knew who was coming.  The doors to the street are open for the crowd to watch.  It works the same as a state dinner at the White House or the wedding of Prince William to Kate.  Only this is a banquet where the local Baptist preachers’ council is hosting the popular young preacher who is reaching all the wrong people with his radical message.  Everyone wants to see how this will play out!

And it is brutal.  Though Jesus is the ‘honored guest’ no honor is given him.  No water to wash his feet.  No oil to anoint his hands and head.  It is as if someone came to dine at your home and you did not welcome them, offer to take their coat, or ask what they’d like to drink.  Everyone in the crowd sees this disgraceful treatment of Jesus.  Honor dictates that he should storm out.  He chooses to sit down.

There is much yet to come in this narrative, but let us stop here.  Jesus chooses to sit down.  Jesus is not there to defend his honor; he is there to call them into God’s way.

Jesus comes to us without regard for how we may dishonor him.

Jesus shows up in all our churches every Sunday morning – not because we honor him rightly, but because he has something to say to us.  Too many of our communities named after God’s Grace or Life or New Hope, named after noble saints who laid down their lives to bear witness to Jesus, or holy places where Christ laid down his life – too many of our churches are not places of true grace or life or hope.  We are unwelcoming of strangers despite God’s word.  We are gossips and tale-bearers despite God’s command.  We judge one another despite Jesus’ clear teaching.  We hold grudges and hate our enemies.  We do not “pray always,” or love our neighbors as ourselves.  But Christ comes.   He comes to speak to us.  He comes to eat with us.  Not because we are worthy of him, but because he would make us worthy.

And where that word finds open hearts, if brings forth a harvest thirty, sixty and a hundred fold.

“When I kept silence”

Psalm 32web.dkb.dust devil.small

1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.

This is one of those places where the desire to keep the text gender neutral dulls its meaning.  Our translation shifts the psalm from the singular “Happy is he…” to the plural “Happy are those…”  But the psalmist is speaking of the individual here, not the community.  It is the forgiveness of one man that matters, not that of all people.  Yes, he is making a generic statement about forgiveness, but the story is a decidedly personal one.  Our poet is the man the LORD has not held in his guilt.

And “happy” is hardly adequate for the joy and peace this forgiven man has experienced.  It is altogether too shallow and cheap a word in our time.  The poet speaks rather of that sense of wholeness, peace, contentment – at one with the self and God and the world – that seems oh so rare in our time.

We are a restless bunch.  Not only outwardly, but inwardly.  We are not just running from work to soccer to market to school and back to work, but running from fears and anxieties, running from silence, running from self-examination.  We are worried about health and food and money and war.  We are struggling to make an imperfect world perfect, straining the gnat and swallowing the camel, looking for pocket knives despite the evidence that when security agents look for knives they miss bomb parts.

We are restless, thinking that one more thing, one more experience, one more accolade will make life better, more complete and silence the unrest within.  But peace cannot come from the marketplace.  It comes from being in harmony with the creator – a harmony that comes from acknowledging we are far from home and hearing God say he has made his home with us – a harmony that comes when broken relationships are mended, starting with our tie to the center of life.

“When I kept silence,” our poet says, “my body wasted away.”  Unable or unwilling to speak the truth of his soul, his soul withered.  “My strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”  But then he found his voice:

“I said ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’
     and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” 

Repentance is not feeling guilty; it is recognizing I am off the path and turning to find it.  It is the courageous truth telling about the state of my soul and changing direction. It is not God who holds our past against us – we do.  Consciously or unconsciously the wounds and wants, fears and failings of the past bind us.  Being free starts with being true – and absorbing the word that God holds none of it against us.

9 Do not be like a horse or a mule,
     without understanding,
whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
     else it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the torments of the wicked,
     but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.

There is one who sees

2 Samuel 11

Rembrandt - David and Uriah (detail) - WGA19125

Rembrandt – David and Uriah (detail) – WGA19125 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

26When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. 27When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. 

But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord,

I love the understatement of the text.  David has conspired to murder Uriah after impregnating Uriah’s wife while her husband was away fighting the king’s wars.  Uriah was the ancient equivalent of a Navy Seal.  The best of the best.  When Bathsheba became pregnant David brought Uriah home from the front assuming he would sleep with his wife and take the child as his own.  But Uriah would not go to his wife while his men were without comfort in the field.  So David makes Uriah attend a banquet and gets him drunk hoping the alcohol will cause him to lose his integrity, but Uriah lies down in the guardhouse.  Exasperated, David sends secret orders by Uriah’s hand to place him on the front line of the fiercest fighting and then pull away to leave him exposed.

Bathsheba makes a great war widow.  And the noble king kindly takes the grieving woman into his house.  He has exercised his power shrewdly, hidden the scandal and gained the beautiful woman he watched bathing while his men fought his battles to extend his kingdom.

It is the story of power we hear all the time.

I was in Detroit when O. J. Simpson was acquitted for the murder of his wife.  I thought it was a terrible shame, but many in the African American community folks cheered – not because they thought him innocent, nor that he didn’t deserve to be punished, but only because a rich black man had finally gotten away with what rich white men have been getting away with forever.  A strange justice.  But the people in my neighborhood lived with the daily reality that the scales of justice tilt against the poor.  At least in this case, they thought, it tilted equally for a black man.

In a tilted world comes this sweet, sweet word: “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.”

There is one who sees the injustices of the world.  One who knows the corporate boardrooms as well the ghettos.  One who knows what happens on Park Avenue and the mean streets.  One who know the abuse of power wherever it happens.  One who judges and calls to account.

Of course, there are kings who care not what message the Lord sends.  Three hundred years later Jeremiah will send his king a written copy of the prophetic messages God had spoken about the corruption in his kingdom – and the king will take his knife, cut each page loose after it has been read to him, and toss it callously into the hot coals set nearby to warm him.  But the word of the Lord stands.  Jehoiakim’s kingdom fell whereas David’s was saved by his repentance.

Why does the innocent die?


2 Samuel 12

Français : Chapiteau du narthex (1140-1150), 2...

Français : Chapiteau du narthex (1140-1150), 2ème pile Nord; reproches de Nathan à David ( le prophète Nathan reproche au roi David son adultère avec Bethsabée, la femme d’un de ses généraux). Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Vézelay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

13David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord. “Nathan said to David, “Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die.”

We might as well start here because it is the thing in the text we all find most disturbing.  Why should the child perish because of the sin of its parents?  I wish the answer were simple, but it isn’t.

Not that there aren’t simple answers, they just aren’t good ones.  Job’s friends had a simple answer for his suffering – he must have sinned – but it wasn’t true.  A sin may result in suffering, but suffering doesn’t mean there was a sin.

Another simple answer is that God has a hidden purpose in it – and while it is true that God works God’s purposes in the midst of suffering and that God can bring good out of the worst evil, the idea that God should slay a child to teach its parents a lesson is deeply disturbing.  The truth of human experience is the opposite: it is we who sacrifice our children at the altar of ambition and desire.

It’s not just that we trash families pursuing our desires or neglect children for our various addictions. We bury children sent off to fight our wars.  We drive them to self-destruction in the quest to be perfect in body or sport or academics.  We let them perish on our highways rather than restrict our right to drink and drive.  It is always the innocent who suffer.  And so it is here 3,000 years ago, the innocent child suffers the consequences of the parental pride, lust and ambition.

In the world of David and Bathsheba the death of children was painfully common.  The King’s household – with better food and shelter than most – may have had fewer such tragedies, but it was the way of life for all humanity before modern medical care.  Children died.  The prophet’s word in this case is that this death is not just one of those ordinary deaths – it is rooted in David’s sin.  There is no child without his sin; there is no death without his sin – neither of Uriah or the child.

Whatever hopes David and Bathsheba had for their illicit union – and Bathsheba will succeed in setting a son of her womb on the throne, though Solomon is not the eldest son and heir – God has interposed a resounding “No!”  The powerful imagine they can act with impunity; God holds them to account.  For David this is a personal message:  “You think you can have it all.  You can’t.”

The death of this child is not a general principle or an abstract theological problem; it is a specific prophetic word to a specific person in a specific time and place.  The role of a prophet is to reveal the meaning in the events of the time.  The meaning of David’s sin is that it brings death – death starting with this very own child.  David’s life will never be free of the sword.  His attempt to stand above the law will echo through his lifetime with violence in his own household.  One son will rape his step-sister and her brother will strike him down.  The eldest will lead a revolt and take all his father’s concubines in full sight of the whole city.  David will see the consequences of his surrender to the corrupting power of privilege.

None of this is surprising in a prophetic word.  What is surprising is that David repents.  The King does not destroy the prophet for his message; he submits.  He does not ignore the divine word; he turns back to God.  And God forgives.

It is this that makes David great.

Watching for the morning of June 16

Year C

The Third Sunday after Pentecost:
Proper 6 / Lectionary 11

The texts for Sunday are potent ones.  The prophet Nathan confronts King David after he has murdered Uriah and taken his wife.  A woman intrudes into a public banquet and ends up washing Jesus’ feet with her tears.  The psalmist describes his intense experience of guilt and forgiveness.  And Paul declares: “no one will be justified by the works of the law,” and speaks those powerful words: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

There is much that is said in scripture about God’s passion for justice, God’s care of the poor, God’s judgment upon societies that fail to protect the weak.  Jesus’ most familiar teaching that we should love our neighbor is not new to Jesus but found back in Leviticus (what is radical in Jesus is how he defines our neighbor).  But all this ethical teaching rests on a bedrock layer of sin and forgiveness, human rebellion and divine faithfulness, our dishonoring of God and God’s choice to release us from that debt.

We misunderstand the faith if we think it only about sin and grace.  But we likewise misunderstand if we think it is not.

Prayer for June 16, 2013

Gracious God,
whose infinite mercy should prompt in us an infinite love,
help us to taste and see your goodness
and to share that banquet with all.

The Texts for June 16, 2013

First Reading: 2 Samuel 11:26–12:10, 13-15  (The prophet Nathan confronts King David about the murder of Uriah to hide David’s affair with Bathsheba)
Psalmody: Psalm 32  (A song about the corrosive presence of unconfessed sin – and the healing power of God’s mercy.)
Second Reading
: Galatians 1:11-24 (We are justified by faith not by obedience to the covenant law.)
: Luke 7:36 – 8:3 (At a banquet at the home of Simon the Pharisees, Jesus speaks to him about the power of forgiveness after a woman washes’ Jesus feet with her tears.)