Saturday, October 20, 2007

Widow demanding justice, Jacob wrestling: back from the mountains, sermon-writing

... or sermon-finishing, or sermon-wrestling.

At St. Mary's House we are already using the Revised Common Lectionary (which the Episcopal Church everywhere will formally begin using this coming Advent) and this Sunday there is a choice of readings from the Hebrew Bible: Jeremiah 31:27-34 or Genesis 32:22-31. Both are very rich. I picked the Genesis one, of Jacob wrestling with the stranger, sometimes known as an angel and thought by many interpreters to be G*d. The painting above, by Marc Chagall, has hung in my dwelling (beginning with my dorm room in college) everywhere I have lived. Interestingly, when I was looking for reproductions of it on the Web, I found it, among other places, on a blog about the writing life.

The Psalm appointed for the day with the Genesis reading also happens to be one of my favorites, Psalm 121.

And then there's Timothy on the matter of scripture, sound doctrine, itching ears, and persistence.

The Gospel, of course, is a powerful one: the story of the widow and the unjust judge. I will begin with that story.

I worked on the sermon in the mountains, but now it is working on me. Stay tuned.


Paul said...

Welcome back from the hills. I missed you while you were away but you left the most splendid landscape photo for consolation and I thank you.

I am sorry to drag our thoughts to such a level but the relative positions of the angel and Jacob are far more damning than the motions of Senator Craig's foot in a Minneapolis airport men's room. (Yes, I will include this in my confession at Mass this later this morning.)

Ending on a loftier note, Chagall is wonderful. His paintings have such delightful magic.

Jane R said...

Yes, that did occur to me some years ago. Glad you made a proper confession. ;-) I ex-temped the whole middle of my homily (though I knew where I was headed) but will reconstruct it when I have time and post it here. Right now (duly fed by lovely couple from church who are dear friends and properly caffeinated by their post-Sunday-dinner espresso) I must go read student papers on Anselm, Hildegard, the Knights Templar, and several other topics because classes begin again tomorrow and I have a stack of medieval things to examine. Tomorrow we move to the 16th century in my History of Christianity class, though and I begin with the Conquista and OL of Guadalupe. I'm going to play some music by SAVAE (San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble) - do you know them? Fabulous stuff. They perform 16th-17th c. Christian music with indigenous (reconstructed from paintings) instruments and based on recently discovered manuscripts. Very good musicology work and lovely performances and they have at least two CDs devoted entirely to music in honor of Guadalupe!

My cat wants to talk -- and then I must get to those medieval papers.

Jane R said...

Oops, I messed up the punctuation in one of those sentences up there. Sorry. And me a professor.

Shannon said...

Jane, I loved the gospel story today--and having heard it with four different groups of inmates, we had some fun with it. My initial question: "How many of you were making lists of unjust judges?" But I also told them that I'd learned the meaning of persistence by witnessing the men who work on their cases and file appeals and keep asking for justice. They are more than widows who scare a judge into thinking she'll come in and bop him with her umbrella. They are fierce and faithful, much like Moses with Aaron and Hur to hold him up (we had Exodus for the 1st reading) and Paul encouraging Timothy to be persistent.

And so like God who is fiercely faithful. If we are called to be like God, how could we be anything less?


Paul said...

SAVAE is an awesome group and the CDs are just glorious. I love "hanacpachap cussicuinin" (from memory, I probably got the spelling wrong). What lucky students!