summer solstice!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Pentecost 21B

• Two weeks ago on Pentecost 19, we discussed our experiences with different branches and styles of Christianity—ecumenism, ecumenical.

• Last week on Pentecost 20, before our Blessing of the Animals during the Eucharistic liturgy, everyone talked about their particular passions and concerns regarding creation.

• Therefore—no class notes for either of those days.

Mark 10:17-31

17As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: "You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.' " 20He said to him, "Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth." 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, "Then who can be saved?" 27Jesus looked at them and said, "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible."

28Peter began to say to him, "Look, we have left everything and followed you." 29Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."

The Church's year of grace continues to move toward Jerusalem, the cross, and the empty grave. We continue with main gospel readings from Mark. Mark is the shortest, earliest, most concise, and direct of the four canonical gospels. Along with Matthew and Luke, Mark is one of the three synoptic gospels; despite different emphases, they essentially view Jesus' life and ministry with a single perspective or eye.

"syn" as in synonym, synagogue, synthesis, synergy, syndicate, synod; "optic" as in optical, optician, optometrist, optimistic.

Today is about neighborology, the word about the neighbor, the other. You remember neighborology was prominent in Luke's gospel; Luke's lectionary Year C that begins again soon with the first Sunday of Advent also featured particularly neighbor-oriented readings from Jeremiah and Deuteronomy.

Jesus and his disciples continue on the journey or the way to Jerusalem and the cross. In Mark and in Luke, the journey to the cross is especially relentless and intentional. Maybe you recall early on in its accounts, Luke's Acts of the Apostles refers to people who follow Jesus as followers of The Way

In terms of economy and culture, two thousand years ago the ancient near east was somewhat of a subsistence economy, with people precariously balancing their lives with income from fishing and farming; they generally had little if any surplus. Besides farmers and fishers, there were landholders who became landlords and demanded rent in cash or in kind for farming on their plot of earth. Empires long had made inroads into that part of the planet; Jesus and his people dealt with the occupying Roman army, puppet governors, and high taxes on a daily basis.

We find versions of today's famous reading in all three synoptic gospels, with variants that show we don't quite know the social status or age of the guy who converses with Jesus. Today's well-known reading is about keeping the commandments, words and the actions that relate to the other than me; getting out of yourself and detaching yourself from your stuff and your money and being there for your neighbor. Hebrew bible scholar Walter Brueggemann calls the commandments the working papers for life in covenantal community. In this passage, Jesus quotes commandments only from what we call the second table of the law, the part that deals directly with our neighbors; we've discussed how breaking any commandment violates the first command to have no other god (nothing else first in our lives and thoughts and hearts) but the true God. "Do not defraud" is not in either Exodus' or Deuteronomy's version of the commandment, though other places in the Hebrew Bible mention defrauding.

Today's reading is about a guy with lots of stuff who basically has made money and possessions into his real god, into what comes first in his life and heart. Trust, belief, and faith all are the same word in biblical Greek. You can't trust cash, stocks, bonds, and so-called "securities" (ha ha); you can trust God who fills heaven and earth, the God and Father of Jesus the Christ.

This is the only place Mark's gospel tells us Jesus loved someone; it's the unconditional, divine, agape love.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Pentecost 18B

James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a

3 13Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

4 1Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. ...

Old Testament & Wisdom Literature

A few weeks ago on Pentecost 13 / August 20, when we studied a passage from the book of Proverbs we did an overview of the content of the Hebrew Bible, especially contrasting the Wisdom literature Proverbs belongs to with the rest of scripture.

The Old Testament or Hebrew Bible has three major sections: Torah; Prophets; Writings. Torah or Pentateuch ("penta" refers to the number five, as in pentagram, pentagon, pentatonic).

* Torah carries and conveys a sense of God's definitive self-revelation, along with covenantal and other history, and includes commandments and related instructions for human behavior.

* Prophets break into the current setting or situation with words or challenges from God, often speaking truth to power, frequently revealing restored hope for the future, promises of resurrection from the dead.

* Writings are a diverse body of literature that aren't so much as words from heaven to earth as they are words from earth to heaven. The writings include books of Proverbs, Psalms, Esther, Daniel, Chronicles, Song of Solomon, Job. ...

To review some characteristics of Proverbs for today's discussion, in alignment with many wisdom writings in the Ancient Near East, its articles, exhortations, essays, and poetry tend to be about discernment from the human side, rather than revelation from God's side; they emphasize obedience, learning from living together in community, and obeying God's word along the way: heart knowledge and foot knowledge we acquire from walking the talk! They have a sense of mystery and hiddenness rather than an aura of command.

James: Author & Content

The Revised Common Lectionary that provides most of our Sunday scripture readings has been in a semi-continuous reading of the New Testament epistle or letter of James. Like Proverbs, James is within the tradition of wisdom literature. Most weeks we have time to discuss only one lection, so this group has been missing out and this is our first Sunday with James; maybe not the best passage to start with, but here we are, anyway.

Jesus' apostle James Zebedee almost definitely didn't write the book of James. It might have been by Jesus' biological brother James; someone else could have written it and honored either of those James by using their name. Even most recent critical scholarship considers dating uncertain; it remotely could have been written even before Paul's 1 Thessalonians we generally regard as the earliest NT book; it could have been written several decades later. Steve's Study Bible suggested possibly well into the 2nd century, but that feels way too late. For what it's worth, James' grammar and syntax are quite consistent. In any case, James wrote to scattered, dispersed Jewish Christians in a diaspora either fairly nearby or relatively far away.

Throughout five short chapters, James is about neighborology, how to live together in community, how to obey the commandments so everyone will be their healthiest and best. James brings us echoes of Jeremiah, Deuteronomy, and Luke. Remember how often we discussed those books during Luke's lectionary year A? James also sounds like Jesus in his Sermon on the Plain and Sermon on the Mount.

Luther & James / James & Luther

The reformer Martin Luther famously did not like Jimmy, notoriously referred to the book as an "epistle of straw." Reasons for Luther's opinion aren't entirely clear. It could have been because so much of James emphasizes we need to be doers of the word of God, and not merely hearers of the word; that would appear to be works-righteousness that violated Luther's theology of grace. It could have been because Pastor Martin wasn't crazy about the idea of serving some of his more boorish, bumpkin-like nearby neighbors. It well may have been because James nowhere affirms or confesses Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ of God, so the epistle does not contain even a hint of the high Christology Luther would have desired.

One more note: in addition to James, Luther did not want to include Revelation, Hebrews, or Jude in the canon of scripture. He also had lesser opinions of 2 John, 3 John, and 2 Peter. That group of Luther's leftovers sometimes gets referred to as antilegomena, literally "spoken against."

Monday, September 17, 2018

Pentecost 17B

Mark 8:27-38

27Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" 28And they answered him, "John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." 29He asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Messiah." 30And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

31Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."

34He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

The church is more than three quarters of the way through this year of grace that especially features gospel readings from St. Mark, the earliest, shortest, most concise narrative of Jesus' earthly ministry. Today's passage is considered a literary and theological hinge between the two major sections of Mark. Moat of the first half happens around Jesus' hometown area of Galilee; most of the second occurs on the way to, near, and in Jerusalem.

Jesus and his disciples are in a Caesarville—Caesarea Philippi, a center of worship of the god Pan (Pastor Peg told us our word panic relates to Pan's activities; I mentioned Pan was a musician), worship of the Ba'al place gods, worship of the Roman Emperor. Besides dividing different locations of first and second half of Mark, these verses form a kind of hinge between sections of Mark because they demand an answer to the question of Jesus' identity and call, and, by extension, a response to the question of our identity and calling as people of God who bear the name of Christ Jesus.

Especially in the gospels of Mark and Luke, Jesus' journey to Jerusalem and the cross is particularly incessant and intentional. Surprisingly(!), this is the very first place in Mark where Jesus uses the word "cross."

Like many during the last three or four millennia, we live in a Caesarville—a place defined by one empire or another. Do we live where Trumpville, Forty Five City, Big Pharma Nation or Mass Violence Villa hold sway and try to have the final say? Yes, all of those, and lots more we can think of too easily.

Mark 8:34 – the cross Jesus calls us to carry is not the sorrows, losses, struggles, trials, disappointments. difficulties everyone experiences to some degree in life. Jesus' especially calls us to carry the cross that's a loud "no" to death, "no" to violence, "no" to exploitation, "no" to inequality, "no" to imperial excesses of every kind, "no" to hatred, etc. When we carry the cross of Jesus Christ, we speak a resounding "yes" to life, "yes" to peace, to equality, community, to neighborology, to love, to inclusion, etc.

We had surprisingly little discussion of the famous conversational exchange between Jesus and Peter. One class participant pointed out what a deep level of trusting friendship Jesus and Peter must have had to speak so freely and openly to each other. Think about it! No risk of a sudden angry de-friending between them!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Pentecost 16B

Isaiah 35:4-7a

4Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you."

5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

The church – that's us! – has journeyed ¾ of the way through another year of grace as we've concentrated on gospel readings from Mark, the earliest, most concise, most direct account of Jesus' ministry; maybe you've noticed I like to call Mark the gospel for the texting and tweeting crowd?

Today we'll consider a passage that's very much "God's work – our hands." Today we'll study a passage from the 66 chapter long book of Isaiah that includes a "do not fear" charge (command!). You may remember we divide Isaiah into three main sections:

• chapters 1-39, 1st Isaiah, before the Babylonian exile;
• chapters 40-55, 2nd Isaiah, during the exile;
• chapters 56-66, 3rd Isaiah, after the exile—

though it's not quite that neatly delineated. Since 1st Isaiah comprises chapter 1 through 39, at first glance it looks as if Isaiah 35 comes from the individual or committee that wrote down most of the first section, though in many ways chapter 35 conveys the same spirit of hope, renewal, and resurrection from the dead we find in the second section. Someone observed, "2nd Isaiah funded Handel's Messiah." The Messiah even opens with the same words that open 2nd Isaiah, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God."

Quick note: vengeance in verse 4 is not necessarily violence, but can refer to vindication, benefit, a payment that restores justice, or simply God's response or answer, as "He will come and save you" suggests.

Do you remember when John the Baptist was in prison and he told his followers to go ask his cousin Jesus if he (Jesus) was the promised one "who is to come," or if they needed to keep looking and searching for someone else? Jesus told John's followers, "Go and tell John what you hear and see. The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, dead are raised, good news proclaimed to the poor..." [and blessed are those who take no offense, do not consider me a stumbling block/ scandal..."] Matthew 11:4,5,6 Luke 7:22,23

With lame people not only walking, but leaping like deers, speechless people not only talking but singing, this Isaiah passage is even more dramatic.

Do you know Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by farmer / poet / theologian Wendell Berry? Among other things he advises us:
Every day do something that won't compute.
Love the Lord.
Love the world.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Practice resurrection.

In baptism we have received God's Spirit of Resurrection from the dead. Discussion of how sometimes life out of death is physical and bodily, sometimes it's most spiritual, it can be emotional or psychological. Sometimes we don't receive a cure for physical ailments in this life, but healing always is possible. Like God's promise through whichever Isaiah recorded today's scripture passage, like Jesus' reply to his cousin John the Baptist, God often calls us to be the reversal, the newness, the resurrection to new life God promises and people need. God calls and enables us to help the blind see, deaf hear, lame walk (or leap), speechless talk (or sing). Jesus was the promised one who'd change the course of history; now we are Jesus' presence in the world as our hands do God's work. As we practice resurrection!

Pastor Peg suggested considering an event or a person that has changed our perspective on something, or even changed the direction of our life.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Pentecost 15B

Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9

1So now, Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you.

2You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you.

6You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!"

7For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? 8And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?

9But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children's children.

At the 15th Sunday – and still counting! – after the Festival of the Day of Pentecost, we've journeyed three quarters of the way through the Church's Year of Grace. We're continuing in Revised Common Lectionary Year B with its focus on the gospel according to Mark that's the earliest, shortest account of Jesus' life and ministry. I often call Mark the gospel for the texting and tweeting crowd.

Today we have another passage from Deuteronomy. You may remember we heard a lot of Deuteronomy during Luke's lectionary year C. We recently discussed some of the desert wanderings of God's people Israel from the book of Exodus.

Deuteronomy 4:7 asks, what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? But in Exodus 3 we've discovered a God who hears the cries, sees the pain, heeds the complaints, and is there before anyone thinks to summon God. This is not a new or different God than before; this is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the One we meet as the God and Father of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 3:7-8 "I have seen the pain of my people; I have heard their cry; I know their sufferings. I have come down to deliver them and bring them into a land flowing with milk and honey." Similar reminders of God remembering, not forgetting, maintaining the covenant of grace with Abraham continue through the first half of Exodus.

Deuteronomy 4:8 asks what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just, as righteous, as this entire law that I am setting before you today?

What other nation, what country, gathered people, community, assembly, has such a wonderful way of being, way of living, lifestyle, Torah, set of guidelines for living together, for loving the neighbor, for maintaining the common-wealth, for neighborology? We talked about neighborology a lot during Luke's year when we also discussed Jeremiah and Deuteronomy.

Exodus and Deuteronomy refer to the ten commandments of the Sinai Covenant not as statues, ordinances, or commandants, but as words.

At least twice in Exodus, the account of the formation of Israel as a people, God's people / Moses' people who are one and the same, announce "we will do all the words the Lord has spoken." Exodus 19:8; 24:3, 7

Reformer John Calvin insisted "there is no pre-obedience knowledge of God." Reformer Martin Luther began his Small Catechism – traditional preparation for first Holy Communion – with the Commandments. Hebrew Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann reminds us, "It is the God of the Commandments with Whom we commune."

Continuing Sunday's discussion: backtracking to our recent five weeks of John 6 along with hearing about manna and quail from heaven, water from the rock in Exodus, we constantly receive signs or evidence of God's presence. These signs or symbols include bread and wine of holy communion; waters of baptism. Signs or symbols of God's nearness include the commandments that share God's attributes of holiness, righteousness, justice for the neighbor. Signs of God's presence include us, the contemporary people of God, wherever we go...

Monday, August 27, 2018

Pentecost 14B

John 6:56-69

56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?" 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, "Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him.65And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father."

66Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" 68Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
Today marks the fifth Sunday in a row of chapter 6 of John's gospel! John is the gospel of abiding presence, the gospel that (maybe particularly) emphasizes the incarnation, enfleshment, embodiment of the pre-existent, eternal logos. Today we move from Jesus' "I am" declarations (that equate him with Yahweh's "I am" revelation to Moses) to the disciples "You are / Thou art" the Holy One of God.

Pentecost 10 • 29 July • John 6:1-21

verse 1 going over to the other side
2 signs
4 almost passover
9 five barley loaves & two fish / twelve baskets of leftovers
19 Jesus walks on water / "I am"

Pentecost 11 • 05 August • John 6:24-35

24 crowd to Capernaum seeking Jesus
26 "you ate your fill"
30 sign, work, manna = not from Moses
35 "I am" the bread of life

Pentecost 12 • 12 August • John 6:35,-41-51

35 "I am" the bread of life
41 Jesus complained
42 Joseph's son / from heaven?
49 your ancestors ate manna and died
51 eat my bread and never die / my flesh for the life of the world

Pentecost 13 • 19 August • John 6:51-58

51 "I am" the living bread from heaven / bread for the life of the world
58 eat my flesh, drink my blood, abide, life forever.

Pentecost 14 • today – 26 August • John 6:56-69

56 eat and drink = mutual abiding
58 bread from heaven
59 teaching in synogogue
60 difficult teaching, saying = hard logos
62 human one ascending = In John's gospel, Jesus' ascension is his lifting up on the cross and not his ascension into heaven we read about in Luke / Acts
63 Spirit gives life / flesh is useless does not negate John's and the church's celebration of the human body, but instead refers to the conventional human viewpoints, similar to the Apostle Paul's telling us we're still looking at everything in human terms.
68 To whom can we go?
69 You are the Holy One of God – "I am"

The historical question of the original setting in time and place (and purpose, to the extent we can figure it out) of a passage always is our first question when we read scripture, before we apply or discern the passage as God's word to us and for us. Jesus' disciples later would be with him in the upper room when he broke bread and told him it was his body, when he poured wine and declared it the cup of the new covenant, but that hadn't happened yet; Jesus' disciples would not have heard this chapter in Eucharistic terms, though the contemporary church often does. During distribution of the sacrament, the contemporary church often sings Sr. Suzanne Toolan's "I am the Bread of Life" based on John 6.

We call Jesus "Lord". In Saxon England, the Lord provided the loaf, the bread, the sustenance to the community.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Pentecost 13B

Proverbs 9:1-6

1Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars. 2She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. 3She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls from the highest places in the town, 4"You that are simple, turn in here!" To those without sense she says, 5"Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. 6Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight."

Hebrew Bible Overview

As we mentioned last week, the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible has three main sections:

1. Torah or Pentateuch, the first five books, sometimes called Books of Moses, not because Moses could have written them, but because parts of them focus on Moses as liberator of God's people.

2. Prophets include Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings—the former prophets; and the writing prophets or latter prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel plus the Book of the Twelve or the Minor Prophets that are minor in length but not minor in content.

3. Writings, a miscellaneous collection that includes Psalms, Proverbs, Chronicles, Job, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Song of Solomon...

1, 2. Pentateuch and Prophets both carry a sense of an authoritative, revelatory Word of the Lord; Pentateuch brings us creation accounts, stories of patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God's people Israel in mired Egyptian slavery, their exodus or departure from Egypt, Ten Commandments twice, journey to the edge of the Promised Land. Prophets bring us disruptive words from heaven, promises of a future, of death and resurrection. Pentateuch and Prophets emphasize God's covenanting with humanity and with all creation.

3. Writings are not a coherent body of literature; the official canonical content even varied some over the years. Among other angles, they bring us human words to God and human speech about God. They have a sense of discerning God's work in the world from observing creation and social structures, a sense of what we learn from living daily life. Some books report narrative events (Chronicles, Nehemiah, Ezra, Esther for example) or address God in temple or another worship context as the Psalms do.


Although the Proverbs belong to Israel's religious literature, they're not about covenant or temple, but for the most part they're practical advice for living with integrity or wholeness in community. The Proverbs reveal structure, order, continuity of creation and of all life. The book's 31 chapters contain short essays like the one we'll read and hear today, metaphors, similes, memes/ cultural pieces of different types; poems.

Some bibles say King Solomon wrote the Proverbs; most likely they're from many different authors over a span of 400 years. In a similar way to Moses' connection with liberation, Israel correlated Solomon with wisdom, and some of the content of Proverbs probably is from the united kingdom monarchy of Saul, David, and Solomon. Wisdom in Proverbs and in the other scriptural wisdom books of Job and Ecclesiastes isn't so much head knowledge as it is heart- and foot knowledge—the sense of how life comes together people often gain after they've journeyed for a while.

During this year of grace, we'll read several selections from Proverbs, so I'll probably repeat this basic outline.

Proverbs 9:1-6

Today's reading from Proverbs aligns with Jesus' declaration that he is the Bread of Life. As Barbara pointed out, sometimes we try to read too much into simple passages of scripture. The woman in this story is not vegetarian.... but just as Jesus does, she offers radical, fully inclusive hospitality and welcome to everyone without exception. In both Hebrew and in Greek, the noun for wisdom is feminine. We have the biblical number 7 in this reading.