I can't think of a good time to send out an email during Advent-Christmas with help for thinking about Epiphany. So I hope this one finds you in good spirits and enjoying the many gifts that come our way especially during these times.
Holy Textures is a spot for my musings on the various Gospel texts that come our way through the Revised Common Lectionary.
My goal is to provide timely, short, easy to use and thought-provoking background commentary for your sermon or bible study preparation.
Year B - Season of Epiphany - 2018
This year, there are 6 Sundays following Epiphany, January 6 and before Ash Wednesday, February 14. This will give us time to read through Chapter 1 of Mark - with one detour into John (for reasons that escape my imagination).
I like a long Season of Epiphany because it gives a chance to catch one's breath after Advent-Christmas before plunging into planning and preparations for Lent.
I've also included links to the final few readings for Epiphany even though they aren't scheduled for this year. These are good texts that are too often not read at all because of their placement at the end of Epiphany. So every once and a while, I adjust the schedule to include them.
Epiphany of the Lord
January 6 or May be used on the First Sunday of January
"That this comet is understood to be a sign of the birth of a "child who has been born King of the Jews" is particularly frightening to Herod since HE is King of the Jews and this unknown child is a threat to him and his heirs."
Baptism of the Lord
First Sunday After The Epiphany
January 7, 2018
"We might understand the baptism of Jesus as a selfless aligning / embodying of self with the desires of God. Rather than a functional baptism - that is, being baptized so that some function could happen - the forgiveness of sins - this is a revelatory baptism - that is, enacting, confirming and making visibly real what is already the case: You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
January 14, 2018
"I believe the keys in understanding this passage are, on the one hand, to NOT treat it as simply a story of how Nathaniel met Jesus; nor, on the other hand, to get all mystical and obscure. John wants us to SEE Jesus, to COME to him, and thereby to receive LIFE in its abundance."
January 21, 2018
"The fact that Jesus is out alone at night and that the four all leave their families to follow / travel with Jesus is abnormal and deviant behaviour. By and large, most followers of Jesus today will never become itinerant night owls. However if we also never do anything that threatens the status quo, never do anything that is abnormal or deviant, then one wonders how exactly are we following Jesus?"
January 28, 2018
"Jesus may have the authority to silence unclean spirits, but as we all learn to our own peril, no one can silence gossip, not even Jesus. And so his fame begins to spread through those who were there telling others what Jesus has done."
February 4, 2018
"Jesus' followers have an immediate and worthy need that should be attended to. It is something they have already done - with great success - and could do again - also likely with great success. Very tempting. But it is not, 'What I came out to do.'"
February 11, 2018 or May be replaced by Transfiguration Sunday below.
"The leper does not simply beg, "Please heal me." Rather, there is an affirmation of Jesus' authority that also requires his willingness: If you choose, you can make me clean."
Not used this year.
"When Jesus calls the man, "Son," he breaks the social barriers that normally isolate disabled persons. This is actually the real miracle in this story."
Not used this year.
"Jesus' response successfully rebuts the Scribe's challenge by quoting an ancient proverb. This is a double victory because it demonstrates Jesus' knowledge of wisdom lore, and his ability to think on his feet - to use popular knowledge to come up with a witty, punchy reply. Score 2 for Jesus; 0 for the Scribes."
Not used this year.
"So what are we religious people to do with this lesson? On the one hand, like the Pharisees, we want to live our lives in accord with the Bible. But on the other hand, we find Jesus using the Bible to challenge understandings of what the Bible tells us to do!"
February 11, 2018.
"The Transfiguration is an apt Preface to Lent and Jesus' journey to Jerusalem because what lies ahead is both a confrontation between the non-violent justice of the Kingdom of God and the violent injustice of the Roman Empire; as well as the non-violent way of the Beloved versus the hoped-for victory by the Messiah."
* Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Bruce J. Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh, Social Science Commentary on ... The Synoptic Gospels; The Gospel of John; The Book of Acts; The Letters of Paul; The Book of Revelation; and others.
+ Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, Jewish Annotated New Testament, The Bible With and Without Jesus, Short Stories by Jesus, Entering the Passion of Jesus, and others.