Epiphany 4 B: First Things First

Dear Partner in Preaching, I suspect there are days when you wonder if what you do makes much of a difference. Days when you worry about attendance, struggle to find a Sunday School teacher, look ahead to the prospect of an uninspiring committee meeting, or wonder if any of the kids in confirmation even want to be there. Days that drain the body, wear on the spirit, and cause you to question, not so much your vocation in general, but the usefulness of it in particular. And then comes a passage like this one. A passage on an exorcism, of all things, using words like “rebuke” and “unclean spirit,” and you fear that if your people ever...

Matthew 28:9-10

Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ There is a sense in which Matthew is, if not “fixing,” at...

The Rest of MarkR...

Chapter 13 in Mark’s story of Jesus can feel like something of an interruption. We noticed earlier that it stands apart from much of Mark’s writing with its strong apocalyptic imagery and symbolism and its sudden concern with the end of the world and Christ’s return. Very likely Mark...

Mark 11:12-14

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat...

Mark 9:1

And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” Chapters and verses, it’s sometimes helpful to remember, were not part of Mark’s original design. So if this verse, 9:1, seems...