The 4th Sunday in Lent at St Mark Church in Norman, OK
March 30, 2003
2 Chronicles 36:14-17, 19-23 + Ephesians 2:4-10 + John 3:14-21
We know very little about Nicodemus. He shows up suddenly out of nowhere. He is leader, John tells us. He is a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, so we know before he even begins his questions that he’s smart, savvy, and a thinking man. He comes at night. We suspect that it isn’t because he’s busy all day, or that Jesus only holds class at night. He has a lot to loose, because his questions reveal that he has gone one step further than the rest of the Pharisees. His questions are not legal. … more »
The 3rd Sunday in Lent at St Mark Church in Norman, OK
March 23, 2003
Exodus 20:1-17 + 1 Corinthians 1:22-25 + John 2:13-25
Mark has led us this far into Lent; but now he passes us on to John who will be our guide until Palm Sunday. Quickly we notice the change. After the precise, orderly details of Mark, we suddenly must deal with the emotions and the stirring images of John’s Gospel. From Cana and its wild wedding feast we move to Jerusalem with its somber and serious Temple business. From a family celebration in a home, to the somber courts of Jerusalem’s Temple, signs of change filled with promise sweep off these pages into our hearts and minds. … more »
The 2nd Sunday in Lent at St March Church in Norman, OK
March 16, 2003
Genesis 22: 1-18 + Roman 8: 31-34 + Mark 9:2-10
We tell stories of faith today, stories that lead us deeper into Lent and toward its finish at Eater. We hear the warning of Mark to tell the vision to no one until after the resurrection, because mystical visions of glory are not enough; because faith that survives suffering and trial is real faith, “Resurrection Faith”; and faith that springs from visions of glory is hardly faith at all.
We think we understand that, but there is still in us all the temptation to take the short-cut. That’s what Peter wanted to do in this Gospel passage. … more »
The 1st Sunday in Lent at St Mark Church in Norman, OK
March 9, 2003
Genesis 9:8-15 + 1 Peter 3:18-22 + Mark 1:12-15
On Lent’s first Sunday, the Gospel tells us something about God something about Jesus, and something about ourselves. What first seems harsh on God’s part with the “driving” of Jesus into the desert and his “testing” there, really reveals God’s intention to preserve and care for those who find themselves tested and tempted by the ministry of the “angels” who protect and comfort those experience this time of trial.
If ever there was an effort to suggest that Jesus “had it made” as God’s Son and was somehow on the fast-track to perfection, Mark makes haste to clear that notion from our heads. … more »
Ash Wednesday at St Mark Church in Norman, OK
March 5, 2003
Joel 2:12-18 + 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 + Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
The first words of this great and holy season come from God himself. It is Joel who gives voice to the longing of God, who calls us together and asks us to look up from the cares of this day, the troubles of this year, and the long season of violence and disaster that seems to have settled upon us.
It’s as though a thousand voices were moaning and crying, weeping and lamenting, groaning and sobbing out of disappointment and fear, loneliness and sorrow. One voice is heard above all the others, one voice that says: Come back to me. … more »
The 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time at St March Church in Norman, OK
March 2, 2003
Hosea 2:17-22 + 2 Corinthians 3:1-6 + Mark 2: 18-22
Pharisees get a bad rap in the Gospels. Consequently, we are not inclined to listen to what they have to say much less why they say it. Gospel writers use them as a tool to reinforce the sayings of Jesus, and that works well, but sometimes what Jesus has to say does not overturn or reverse what the Pharisees say, but simply reinforces it from another direction. I think today’s encounter with the Pharisees could be heard in that way with a little more attention to the motives of these Pharisees.
Far from being self-righteous moralists saving their souls by scrupulous personal behavior,
Pharisees are trying to create a common culture that would support fellow Jews in living their religion in the hostile environment of pagan Roman culture. … more »