Showing posts from June, 2013

4th Sunday after Trinity: who do you say that I am?

"Who do you say that I am, asks the Lord?"

Some wonder: could He be a prophet like John the Baptist? But if Jesus was a prophet, then we are just worshipping a dead prophet.

Could He be Elijah? Elijah supposedly ascended bodily into the heavens, so perhaps Jesus is Elijah, returning to the world. But if so, then all we have left is a dead Elijah.

Could He be the Christ, as Peter finally says? "Christ" is Greek for Messiah, meaning the "anointed one," the person for whom the Jews had been waiting to liberate them from their oppressors. And of course, Jesus is the Christ. But He does not indicate in this passage of Luke that this is the right answer. He simply stops the questioning at that point, perhaps because Peter's is the best answer so far, and it begins a dialogue which Jesus will complete next week on St Peter's day.

But it is still not enough - because if Jesus were just a messiah, then all we would have left is a dead messiah.

3rd Sunday after Trinity: what is worth your tears?

Pharisees and prostitutes: perhaps the 1st century Palestinian equivalent of a vicars and tarts party? Or perhaps not. Nonetheless, that is how the anonymous woman in Luke 7 has traditionally been portrayed, despite the Greek of the Bible calling her no more than a "sinful woman." Though, I suppose, the rather spiteful exaggeration does spice up the story: a woman who is a renowned sinner offers Jesus her kissing and weeping, in hotblooded contrast to the cold moral legalism of Simon and friends.
We English get a bit embarrassed by kissing, don't we? It's only recently that we've adopted the continental custom of pecking each other on the cheeks in greeting. And I wonder whether that is linked in some way to our unpleasant national tendency to anti-Catholicism, our distaste for its exuberant pomp, or its "detestable enormities," as our Reformers unfortunately put it. Perhaps there are even one or two of us who find some of what we do in this church a bit…