Accepting the Kingdom: gift

Kingdom_of_GodIn Private. 10 In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. 11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

In the privacy of a house, the disciples question Jesus about “this” – presumably, “what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Jesus has taken the question back to the divine intent. One way to understand the unstated question is that the disciples are not asking about divorce per se, but the broader question of all the things that cause the separation of what God has joined. Jesus declared without qualification that a man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. The use of the word “adultery” directs the disciples back to the absolute command of God (Ex. 20:14) and clarifies the seriousness of the issue. But to be clear, Jesus is not saying that divorce and remarriage is the only circumstance that lead to adultery, but it is of the same gravitas. Continue reading

Accepting the Kingdom: intentions

Kingdom_of_GodGod’s Creative Intent. Thus, Jesus moves the dialogue to deeper question and asks about what God intended in the creation: But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”

Jesus has posed a question to the Pharisees that puts before them a choice between preserving the Law as they understood it or discerning and doing God’s will. The former is a legislation that is based upon fallen human history. But is there something that precedes that history that will reveal God’s intent? Jesus is also appealing to the Torah in his reference to the creation account in Genesis. Many scholars have offered that the Law given to Moses was part of a covenant with the people of Israel for a specific time in history. That covenant was broken and “subsumed” into the larger Davidic covenant. But the covenant in Genesis is timeless and is revealed in Creation. Paul seems to make the similar argument that the Mosaic law was but an ‘inset’ into God’s earlier purpose and covenant of grace, which is eternal (Gal. 3:17). Continue reading

When the kingdom becomes clear

Last Sunday’s gospel was St. Mark’s version of the sower who scatters seed, a metaphor for the manner in which the Kingdom of God comes to be in this world. This was followed up by the story of the mustard seed. Both are meant to hold up the idea of the Kingdom of God and get us to think about what we hope for. In the first story, a sower scatters seed on the ground, and then goes off to sleep. The seeds fend for themselves and when the grain is ripe, the gardener harvests it. In the second story, someone sows a tiny mustard seed in the ground, and it grows into a gigantic bush, large enough to offer birds shelter in its branches. As is the case with all of Jesus’s parables, these are intended not to keep us comfortable and complacent, but to prod and provoke us into wholly different ways of perceiving and relating to what is sacred. Continue reading

Vision of the Kingdom

The year was 1968. It was the year we first orbited the moon, the 747 jet liner made its commercial debut, the average rent for a three-bedroom house was $130/month, milk was $0.34/gallon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, Intel corporation was founded, the Beatles released the White Album, zip lock bags were first sold, and the infamous Big Mac debuted at the golden arches for a whopping $0.49.

The year was 1968 – and today on that date in history, the diocese of Saint Petersburg was erected – and so today we celebrate our golden jubilee, our 50th anniversary! How about a round of applause for the Golden Jubilee! Continue reading

Keeping up

The kingdom of heaven is like…. There are lots of parables that begin with those words.  Maybe we can do a thought experiment – a kind of fill-in-the-blank thing. Keep your answers silent within your own thoughts. And since no one is listening, you can be completely honest with your answer. For you…. the kingdom of heaven is like……. What? (No hurry, I’ll wait….) Continue reading

Keeping the Kingdom: gift

Kingdom_of_GodIn Private. 10 In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. 11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

In the privacy of a house, the disciples question Jesus about “this” – presumably, “what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Jesus has taken the question back to the divine intent. One way to understand the unstated question is that the disciples are not asking about divorce per se, but the broader question of all the things that cause the separation of what God has joined. Jesus declared without qualification that a man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. The use of the word “adultery” directs the disciples back to the absolute command of God (Ex. 20:14) and clarifies the seriousness of the issue. But to be clear, Jesus is not saying that divorce and remarriage is the only circumstance that lead to adultery, but it is of the same gravitas. Continue reading

The answer we wait for…

TheAnnunciationAt our local house we friars meet on Tuesday morning to read and share about the upcoming Sunday’s reading. It is our communal “musing” if you will. Sometimes another friar will have a great insight that inspires your own ultimate direction; sometimes it is an image that you take in a completely different direction. Sometimes there is “preacher’s block” and sometimes the ideas are full, free, and flowing. Continue reading