source of beauty and depth of passion.
Strengthen and inspire us to do the word we hear
and live the faith we confess. Amen
Here we are preachers, the last real Sunday of summer (sigh...) and finally, a return to the Gospel of Mark. For many of us it will be a "low" Sunday as our parishioners grab one last summer weekend. And for others our fall schedules may be getting underway. At my own parish it will be a mixed bag as we return to a schedule of two services, but hold the second in a nearby park with neighboring Episcopal congregations.
So what does our lectionary have to offer? First up we have a beautiful and evocative passage from the Song of Solomon. As RGBP Wil Gafney writes at Working Preacher, this passages "is unique in the scriptures for its passionate lyrics extolling the physical love between a woman and a man, and for the dominance of the woman -- in voice and agency -- in the composition..As a part of the larger Christian canon, this passage is also available for an incarnational reading, focusing on the humanity in which Jesus of Nazareth was clothed. That humanity was not just miserable unredeemed flesh, but also joyful, loving, touching, sexually mature flesh."
Alternatively, in our reading from Deuteronomy we find Moses instructing the Israelites as they prepare to, at long last, enter the promised land. Moses reminds them that they must diligently follow God's laws and, "...make them known to your children and your children's children." In our epistle, the letter of James reminds us to, " let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness," apt advice in this contentious election year.
Finally, in the gospel reading taken from Mark, Jesus responds to criticism that his disciples "eat with defiled hands," and the underlying implication that they do not adequately follow the letter of the law.
Prayer and readings found here.