Sunday, July 5, 2009

5th Sunday after Pentecost - 5 July 2009

5th Sunday after Pentecost - 5 July 2009 - Proper 9 B
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10; 2 Corinthians 12:2-10; Mark 6:1-13
James V. Stockton

19th century American poet and author Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Our American eagle is very well, indeed. Let us protect it here and abroad,” he wrote. “But let us also beware of the American peacock.” At this time of the annual celebration of our nation’s hard-won independence, the scripture appointed for today are at least a happy coincidence. They speak to every Christian of the marks of genuine ministry, but also of qualities more widely recognized by many Americans as marks of genuine leadership.

The story of David shows that he is a reluctant draftee to the throne. Read his story in the two books of Samuel. David goes out of his way to avoid usurping the throne from King Saul, or even showing Saul the slightest disrespect. David ignores Saul’s petulant refusal to recognize David as the rightful king. Other than simply staying far enough away from Saul that Saul cannot actually kill him, David endures Saul’s slanders and threats with respectful pity. Until, finally, Saul’s stubborn rejection of God’s sovereignty and the people’s will leads him ever more deeply into the negative consequences of the path that he has chosen.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rector's Study July 2009

From the Rector’s Study ~

Do you ever think about the ‘service area’ of ECR? Do you ever suppose that ECR serves certain areas, certain peoples, but not others. I doubt it.

“Across traditions, the ultimate focus is God – often represented as God’ sovereignty and God’s glory – as this extends to include the well-being of all life.” So notes theologian and author Paula M. Cooey in her book Willing the Good: Jesus, Dissent, and Desire. She continues, “Christians are called to love God and to love their neighbors as themselves. Nevertheless, conversion [to Christ and Christianity] focuses the energy on the making of the Christian subject or agent. This sustained, often all-consuming, focus…makes it all too easy to lose sight once again of the radical orientation to others of the Christian life and ethics.” Cooey reminds the reader that, “This focus on the other, apprehended in Jesus’ identification as the other in need, should collect and sustain the desire to will the good for all creation. Making people pure through the forgiveness of sins, and holy through their subsequent actions, is in this respect a by-product , a means, to a further end, and at best a secondary concern.” Her point is that, “When concern for one’s purity and holiness becomes the central force driving human life and action,…it subordinates God’s will for the good of all,…to the desires of one’s ego. This subordination,” she suggest, “constitutes a form of religious or spiritual narcissism.”