Showing posts from September, 2014

How can you sings as the works of my hand are drowning: Empathic Imagination in Scripture

Proper 19A, St. Clement’s 
The traditional Haggadah, the service booklet for the celebration of the Passover, lists the ten plagues.  In college, when I attended the Passover Seder, I was struck by the solemnity that marked the recitation of the plagues, a solemnity that edged on mourning for the suffering of an ancient enemy. To quote from a contemporary haggadah
“Our rabbis taught: When the Egyptian armies were drowning in the sea, the Heavenly Hosts broke out in songs of jubilation. God silenced them and said, "My creatures are perishing, and you sing praises?"
Though we descend from those redeemed from brutal Egypt, and have ourselves rejoiced to see oppressors overcome, yet our triumph is diminished by the slaughter of the foe.
Our rabbis taught: "The sword comes into the world because of justice delayed and justice denied."
To remember upheaval that follows oppression, we pour ten drops for the plagues upon Egypt.
A full cup is the symbol of complete joy. Though we…

Holy Dunderheads

Proper 18A, 2014
A few weeks ago, Mary Fred referenced the Greek word Ecclesia in her sermon.  The word Ecclesia occurs in only two places in the Gospel of Matthew--Ecclesia means “gathering” and the use of this particular word gives us some insight into the context in which the Gospel of Matthew emerged...
One in which small groups of followers of the way, of Christ, gathered together as a community---and as in any community, there emerged norms for how members of the community are to treat each other.  
Recently, a colleague referred to the dynamic of “belonging, believing and behaving” that marks community life.  And in Matthew, a Gospel whose authorship occurred during a time of regularizing the fledgling Christian community, we see woven through the text instruction as to both belief and behavior for those who participate in the Ecclesia or gathering of early Christians.  
When people claim belonging to community, it can follow then that people ascribe to roughly the same sets of be…