AUTUMN – September The Pastor’s Pen‘
After a summer of discipleship through “binary challenges” (a call away from; … a call toward … ) and moments of decision, St. Mark in his gospel now moves us into the mystery of Christ’s hidden work on the cross.
In Mark’s gospel, encounters with women usually signify turning points in Jesus’ ministry. Here, a conversation with a Syro-Phoenician woman marks the beginning of his mission to the Gentiles. Does Jesus intentionally hide his healing power from the Syro-Phoenician woman and the deaf man? Then comes the cross: Jesus speaks twice of his passion and resurrection.
Lectionary 23 St. Mark 7.24-37 Sunday, 5 September
The next story provides the turning point in Mark’s gospel. Peter is the first human being in the narrative to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, but he cannot accept that as the Messiah, Jesus will have to suffer. Moreover, Jesus issues a strong challenge to all by connecting discipleship to the cross. Lectionary 24 St. Mark 8.24-38 Sunday, 12 September
Jesus’ teaching and action in this text are directed to the church whenever it is seduced by the world’s definition of greatness: prestige, power, influence, and money. The antidote to such a concern for greatness is servanthood. We may never understand Jesus’ inner thoughts, but perhaps Mark is reminding us not to take Jesus’ presence for granted, especially among outsiders. Lectionary 25 St. Mark 9.30-37 Sunday, 19 September
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus teaches his disciples about ministry that involves service and sacrifice. His disciples are slow to realize that these words apply to them as well as to others. It is a mystery the disciples cannot yet comprehend, but a mystery with consequences for discipleship: protecting and blessing the weak, especially children …
Lectionary 26 St. Mark 9.38-50 Sunday, 26 September
becoming dependent upon the whole household of God – whom Jesus calls family.
Supporting the central proclamation of the gospel are heavy prophetic readings from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amos, where God’s vindication and judgment loom large.
Attention to the historical situation of Israel’s destruction and exile makes these prophets’ indictments powerful against our now current injustices and oppression of the world’s poor.
How will we be disciple servants?