summer solstice!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Pentecost 12B

1 Kings 19:4-8

4But Elijah himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors." 5Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, "Get up and eat." 6He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. 7The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you." 8He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

More About Sources

When we discussed the Manna from Heaven narrative we find in Exodus last week, I used the technical German theological word Heilsgeschichte that combines Heil=salvation and Geschichte=history and means God's action in the lives of the people, in creation, in all the world. I mentioned a huge group of people probably never left Egyptian slavery, traveled months and years through deserts trusting God every step of the way, but almost definitely quite a few small bands or tribes of people broke away from slavery or other unpleasant situations, trekked through a wilderness in trust, and afterwards told their stories that also got written down and much later became part of the larger story of The Exodus. These stories are about some of the historical (measurable in time and space) experiences of the people; they're even more about their emotional, psychological, human experience. They typically contain saga and myth and have a high degree of multi-layered density. As Pastor Peg mentioned in her sermon, scattered scrolls got compiled and edited into larger books after the Babylonian exile.

Hebrew Bible Sections

The Old Testament/Hebrew Bible is in three major sections: Torah or the five books of the Pentateuch; Prophets; Writings. Deuteronomy (the fifth book of the Pentateuch), Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings come from the same group or committee of authors we often refer to as the Deuteronomic Historian—almost definitely more than one person. Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings belong to the Former Prophets. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and the book of the twelve (Minor Prophets in the Christian bible) belong to the Writing Prophets.

During Luke's lectionary year A, we talked about neighborology, the word about the neighbor, the other. We discussed similarities between Jeremiah and Luke in that regard. The texts the deuteronomic historian(s) gave us concentrate heavily on being good neighbors. In fact, the book of Jeremiah probably got edited by the same post-exilic committee that compiled the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets.

Hebrew Bible Writings include Job, Psalms, Proverbs. Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, Song of Solomon... I may have left out a few.

1 Kings 19:4-8

Today we're reading one of the famous Elijah stories from 1 Kings. If you'd asked me about Elijah, I'd have remembered (1)water and fire in the moat and the prophets of Ba'al; (2)God in the still small voice; and today's account of (3)bread and water for the journey. But I couldn't have told you what kind of bush or tree or shrub it was, so I researched Broom Tree. Turns out it's more of shrub than a tree; people made coals from its roots, trunks, and branches. Broom embers retain heat a long time; Elijah's bread probably baked on a fire left from an earlier traveler. I discovered broom trees symbolize renewal and resurrection; a hot fire can sear open the seeds so they germinate and begin to grow, information familiar to us in southern California where fires are a major hazard.

"Angel" means "messenger." Evangelical in the ELCA's name is the good (eu or ev) messages or news (angelical). Elijah was in a deep blue funk (long story—read what comes before this); God sent the angel who pointed out the ready to eat food because without physical sustenance the journey would be too difficult. Then there's the basic human need for community, the fact eating alone can be too lonely... but this short reading focuses on physical feeding. As it is throughout scripture, 40 days and 40 nights is approximately one month. Horeb and Sinai are the same place—which word depends upon the source.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Pentecost 11B

Exodus 16:1-15

1The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." 4Then the Lord said to Moses, "I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.

5"On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days." 6So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, "In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?" 8And Moses said, "When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord."

9Then Moses said to Aaron, "Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, 'Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.'" 10And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12"I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'" 13In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat."

Can God really set a table in the wilderness? Can God really provide a feast in the desert? Psalm 78:19b

Welcome to the eleventh Sunday after the Feast of Pentecost! We've journeyed two-thirds of the way through this Year of Grace, not only as People of LCM, but together with the entire ecumenical church, the worldwide church catholic.

Today's first reading is from Exodus, the second book of the Pentateuch, a name we give to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible: penta=5. When we include Joshua, the sixth book of the Old Testament, we can refer to the Hexateuch: hex=6. I began with a verse from earlier in Psalm 78 than the portion appointed today as our responsive psalm. (Too sad the lectionary peeps didn't include it.)

Similar to the word exit, Exodus means leaving or departure. You probably know most of the Exodus account about God's people Israel escaping slave labor in Egypt, wandering through a series of deserts in total trust of God's provision on their way to the Promised Land, receiving the Ten Commandments of the Sinai Covenant during their trek.

Let's talk about Heilsgeschichte! It's a technical German theological term that means salvation history: Heil=salvation, redemption; Geschichte=history. Heilsgeschichte brings together fairly objective, empirical facts with the lived experiences of the people, often with a sense of saga or myth; Heilsgeschichte has a far great degree of density than the cause and effect history we study in school.

In terms of the Exodus narrative, it's very unlikely a huge group of thousands of people left Egypt together in one fell swoop for the promised land under a leader names Moses. However, almost definitely quite a few smaller groups or bands of people escaped harsh conditions trying to survive under empire and spent quite a lot of time wandering through the desert in trust, relying on God's provision. The book of Exodus formally and officially got compiled from different written and oral sources after the Babylonian captivity, as a committee put together several discrete narratives. Again, the salvation history of God, people, and creation is far denser (I love that word!) than conventional history. It includes saga, myth, meaning, emotion.

At the start of today's reading, God's people have left Egypt and passed through the Sea of Reeds (sometimes called Red Sea); we've enjoyed freedom songs of Moses and Miriam; experienced Moses throwing a healthy tree branch into bitter water to make the waters at Marah potable; after the current reading they'll watch Moses strike a rock at Horeb with his shepherd's staff at God's command in order to give everyone water to assuage their thirst. In a foretaste of Sabbath-keeping, God instructs Moses, "On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days." Along with Deuteronomy, Exodus is one of our two main sources for the Ten Commandments, but they don't happen until chapter 20 of Exodus.

In Genesis we mostly encounter the people of God as a family that grows from nuclear to extended; you remember the stories of patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph in Genesis. Exodus is about identity-formation as God's people become a nation, a constituted (echoing our familiar word constitution) people. The Ten Commandments become the touchstone of their identity.

Today's text includes bread of Egypt that was counted, stockpiled, all administrated up—in our world, bread/food of empire even contains preservatives, will last almost forever, and in general isn't particularly healthy or life-giving. This Exodus passage contrasts breads and foods of Egypt/empires with the freedom bread and other types of sustenance God provides as gifts of grace. Whether four thousand years ago or right here and now in 2018, freedom bread is healthy and life-giving; it doesn't stay fresh very long, so there's no point in stockpiling or hoarding it. Steve told us an employee of a nearby grocery store mentioned they got a whole lot more bugs when they began bringing in and selling more organic food; read the rest of Exodus16 and find out what happened when the people tried to save some manna for later!

Manna is a semitic word asking "what is it?" The manna itself might have been cilantro/coriander; it could have been tamarisk. Scripture and church talk about the Kingdom of God, Reign of Heaven, Kingdom of Heaven, Reign of God. Here we read about the Rain of God, as God rains nutritious food from the sky!

Can God really set a table in the wilderness? Can God really provide a feast in the desert? Psalm 78:19b

Monday, July 30, 2018

Pentecost 10B

John 6:1-21

1After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?" 6He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7Philip answered him, "Six months' wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, 9"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?" 10Jesus said, "Make the people sit down."

Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 11Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost." 13So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. 14When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world."

15When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

16When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. 20But he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." 21Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.

The church's year of grace has reached the tenth Sunday after the feast of Pentecost! None of scripture suddenly popped onto the scroll or page in fully finished form as plenary inspiration erroneously imagines; all of it was the result of a long transmission and development process that included a dynamic tradition of oral, spoken, stories and commentaries that changed a little with each narrator and each community. We're still in Revised Common Lectionary Year B, Mark's gospel year. Because Mark is the shortest, most concise gospel, this year we hear more readings from John's gospel than we do in Matthew's or Luke's year. The gospel we received from the community gathered around the beloved disciple John is the outlier, rogue gospel and almost didn't make the canonical cut. John's account of Jesus draws upon two main written documents: the signs source and the I am source. Today's reading includes both a sign (John's word more or less for miracle, for an action that points to a reality beyond itself, as a street sign or product label does) and one of Jesus seven "I am" declarations that refers back to God's revelation of Godself to Moses as "I am" and thus reveals Jesus as God incarnate.

Today's story of five loaves of bread and two fish is amazing on many counts—among them the fact all four gospels include it:

Matthew 14:21 – Mark 6:44 – Luke 9:14-16

In John's loaves-fishes account, Jesus himself rather than the disciples feed the people. Jesus gets bread and fish from a little boy. John's Maundy Thursday upper room account doesn't include the founding meal of the Lord's Supper (Holy Communion, Eucharist), but in its stead features the servant task of washing feet that likely happened at the hand-washing point of the Passover liturgy, just as we observe it here on Maundy Thursday. Because of this, some commentators have suggested loaves and fishes may be John's "founding meal." I mentioned barley was one of the seven agricultural gifts of the Promised Land; Robin's study bible said barley was the grain of poor people. Jesus' followers were fishers by profession; in the surrounding culture, fish was a food of the gods. Also, we have the initialism ichthys where the letters of the Greek word for fish are the first letters of Jesus Christ Son of God Savior.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Pentecost 5B

Mark 4:35-41

35On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him.

37A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"

39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

Today we'll talk about water and word – creation and chaos – divinity and humanity.

As we number Sundays after the Day of Pentecost, the Church's Year of Grace continues in the 6-month long green and growing season of Ordinary Time. "Ordinary" is common to all of us, but more than that, it's structured, organized, ordered and has a regularity about it.

This event happens "on that same day" as the two agricultural parables we discussed last week. Today's gospel reading brings us water and the word. What does that remind you of? (Julie knew the "baptism" answer.) This exact same story's also in Matthew 8:23-27 and Luke 8:22-25. The closely related narrative of Jesus walking on water is in the gospels according to Mark, Matthew, and John.

Review

There are four canonical gospels; we call three of them synoptic, meaning viewed (optic) the same (syn). Similar words include synonym, synthesis, synod, synagogue. Optometrist, optician, optical, optimistic. This is Mark's year in the ecumenical Revised Common Lectionary that gives us our scripture readings and that all the denominations share. Mark, Matthew, and Luke each have a distinctive personality and viewpoint, but they generally convey similar perspectives (syn-optic) on Jesus' life and ministry. John is the very different outlier gospel; it's the latest and almost didn't get into the canon of scripture. More than the synoptics, John's community brings us realized eschatology, the right now, everyday presence of the Reign of Heaven in our midst.

Today's Gospel

Jesus tells everyone they're going "across to the other side." That other side was where non-Jews lived. Genesis tells us Abraham was an ivri – Hebrew – one from "the other side." Jesus includes everyone, maybe especially the other than us, the people from that other side, and calls us to do the same.

The actual body of water in this passage is freshwater Lake of Galilee, but Mark always refers to it as the Sea of Galilee. In scripture sea or ocean is a symbol or sign of chaos and disorder. In Genesis 1 and in Psalm 104 the chaotic, untamed waters are the womb of creation. God's word speaks order into the waters, separates water and dry land, (check out today's reading from Job 38:1-11) gives limits and boundaries to the sea and to all creation. We know about the sea of the Exodus crossing. Noah's flood. Quite a few rivers throughout scripture. A recent hymn by Thomas Troeger sings, "God marked a line and told the sea its surging tides and waves were free to travel up the sloping strand, but not to overtake the land."

Here we read about a great storm, great (=dead is mega in Greek) calm, great fear. This fear really is frightened, scared, and not the "awe" fear of Luther's Small Catechism.

We've talked about God's call to us to live as careful stewards of creation as God's presence on earth—God's work, our hands. That includes the waterways, particularly urgent with the devastating pollution and species destruction that's been happening. In today's gospel reading, Jesus' word controls and subdues the movement of the water. The somewhat parallel stories of Jesus walking on water illustrates Jesus, God's offspring, having power over chaos by walking on calm waters that otherwise would be chaotic and impossible to tread. We hear about the smooth "glassy sea" in the book of revelation and in the hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy." God creates us in the divine image and calls us humans to live out that divine nature, these days particularly by caring for each other and for all creation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Pentecost 4B

Mark 4:26-34

26Jesus also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come."

30He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."

33With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

As the church's year of grace keeps moving into the green and growing structured, ordered, and organized Season of the Spirit of Ordinary Time, today we continue in the gospel according to St. Mark, the featured gospel from Revised Common Lectionary Year B, a.k.a. "Mark's year." Last week we discussed Mark's eschatological perspective and mentioned how the Messianic Secret "don't tell anyone about the signs and wonders" directs listeners and readers to the cross that's the true revelation of God's power and identify. As the earliest and shortest and most immediate of the four canonical gospels, Mark is the one for the texting and tweeting crowd!

The Gospel According to Mark probably is not by Peter's ministry companion John Mark, but from an unknown author or group. Mark may have been compiled as early as 45 C.E., most likely between 60 and 70 close to the time of the destruction of the second Jerusalem temple.

Prior to Mark, good news or gospel was the returning Roman general's announcement of annihilating the other army's troops. This gospel according to Mark subverts that into the Good News of God's victory over the powers of sin and death, the triumph of the reign of life. The gospel of Jesus Christ is economic, political, religious, social, and cultural. The gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims life and brings life – resurrection out of death – everywhere.

Mark has no birth narrative; no resurrection account.

Mark particularly asks and answers where do we look for God? Where do we find God? In Jesus Christ, God no longer is far away, behind the clouds, ensconced, contained, and protected in the the brick and mortar of the temple. We supremely find God in the openness, exposure, and vulnerability of a human dying on the cross. We find God not in established religious, economic, political institutions, but outside the city limits, in the wilderness. In the stranger and outcast. In, with, and under all creation.

This week we have a pair of parables well-suited to an agricultural society and culture. A parable is a comparison, analogy, illustration: the kingdom of heaven is like, similar to, parallels. But please take note... a parable is not an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Sometimes it seems as if Jesus had a particular interpretation in mind; other parables lend themselves to a variety of interpretations.

Common sense human ideas would compare God's strength and power with visually majestic tall, strong, unbending trees like cedars, oaks, or redwoods, or possibly palms whose branches bend, but whose trunks stay stable. The famous mustard seed parable compares the inbreaking reign of God to a bush, shrub, or plant that's not especially desirable if you haven't planted it, though it has many medical, culinary, and other practical uses. Although Jesus' illustration sort of turns it into one, technically mustard's not a weed. Around here we have mustard plants interspersed with California golden poppies.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Pentecost 3B

Mark 3:20-35

20and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, "He has gone out of his mind." 22And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons."

23And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

28"Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"— 30for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."

31Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you." 33And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" 34And looking at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."

Today the Church's year of grace continues in Ordinary Time, the structured, organized, green and growing Season of the Spirit as we count Sundays after the Day of Pentecost. Although ordinary refers to organization rather than mundane or commonplace, we still hold these Sundays together in common with each other and with the rest of the ecumenical church catholic.

The Revised Common Lectionary that provides our scripture readings (except for those rare times the pastor decides to go off-lectionary, or when we study different scriptures as we did for Earth Day 2018), continues with gospel readings from the gospel according to Mark. Mark is the earliest and shortest of the four canonical gospels. Each gospel has a distinctive style and approach. Mark's is particularly apocalyptic. Apocalyptic means revealing, uncovering, in a similar sense as epiphany. Mark's apocalypticism brings us the inbreaking rule or reign of God—the end of the world as we've known it. Apocalyptic typically uses many signs and symbols. Sometimes a symbol has a discernible meaning; at other times it's best to do our best to comprehend the meaning of an entire passage rather than analyze each word or phrase.

Just as in Luke, in Mark Jesus' journey to the cross is incessant and highly intentional. Mark uniquely has the "Messianic Secret" with Jesus doing something or saying something and then telling everyone to keep quiet about it, not to reveal it to anyone. Mark finally reveals the secret at the crucifixion when the Roman centurion who's not a Jesus-follower insider declares, "truly this was a Son of God." [Mark 15:39] In short, the cross it the ultimate revelation of Jesus, the cross is the proper time to reveal the secret. Outsiders in Mark often have insight into Jesus' actions and identity.

We're currently in chapter 3, not far from the start of Mark's gospel. Today's lection begins with a crowd, Jesus' family of origin, and scribes or religious leaders from Jerusalem. Verse 23 tells us Jesus spoke in parables, a style of story that prompts us to listen on a deeper level than what's immediately obvious. As I mentioned, signs and symbols sometimes have a particular meaning; at other times it's best to consider them as part of a larger narrative.

Verse 35: Jesus doesn't negate the nuclear biological family, but expands the family of God to include everyone who follows him, keeps the commandments, does justice and mercy.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Pentecost 2B

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

12Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 14But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work — you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. 15Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.

Mark 2:23—3:6

23One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?" 25And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions." 27Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; 28so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."

3:1Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come forward." 4Then he said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. 5He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Last week we celebrated the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity; now the church's year of grace moves into six months of Ordinary Time, the Green and Growing Time Season of the Spirit, Time of the Church, when the church comes into her own as we continue following the Crucified and Risen Jesus Christ as his presence in the world. Wherever we go. We'll be counting or numbering Sundays after the Day of Pentecost. Today is Pentecost 2.

Ordinary time refers to structure and organization, not to its being common and mundane, though it does have a sense of "commonality" because everyone shares in it.

Today we're back in Mark's gospel this revised common lectionary year B features all year long. Two of our readings – the first reading from the Hebrew scriptures and the gospel account – related to the commandment to observe Sabbath rest. We find the commandments in both Exodus and Deuteronomy. Today we read from Deuteronomy, when God through Moses tells us everyone needs Sabbath or intentional rest (not laziness!) because God freed us, liberated us, from the burden of working under the often unreasonable demands of empires and other bosses of all kinds. With a different focus, the Sabbath commandment in the book of Exodus explains we need Sabbath rest in imitation of God because as we labor along faithfully to claim that imago dei [divine image], some of our work imitates divine creativity, almost all of everyone's work contributes to the realization of God's new creation. As we frequently discuss, sometimes our sabbath/rest needs to be at times other than the historical biblical Sabbath day of Saturday or the Lord's Day Sunday many Christians set apart as a day of worship and rest.

Pastor Peg pointed out how wonderful God tells us everyone needs Sabbath rest—guests, strangers, animals—the land, as we read elsewhere in scripture. We spent a few minutes discussing the Mark passage about the religious leaders, Jesus, and Jesus healing on the Sabbath in order to free the guy with the withered hand to do the work he needed to do to be a contributing member of society and probably provide for his family.