Preaching on Christ the King

This Sunday, the last of the liturgical year, is Christ the king, and comes immediately before Advent. It is a slightly odd festival, since one of the key themes of Advent is not the anticipation of Christmas, but the anticipation of Jesus’ return as king; the Latin adventus is a translation of the Greek parousia … Continue Reading

The preaching and call of Jesus in Mark 1

The Sunday gospel lectionary for the Third Sunday before Advent at the end of this Year B is Mark 1.14-20, the beginning of Jesus’ active ministry in Galilee following his baptism in the Jordan and testing in the wilderness. I have to say I have found what the lectionary does with the opening chapter of Mark’s … Continue Reading

Jesus’ radical inversion of community values in Mark 9

The Sunday gospel lectionary reading for Trinity 16 in Year B is Mark 9.30–37. In our reading of Mark, we have leap-frogged from the confession at Ceasarea Philippi, over the Transfiguration (which is considered at other times in the lectionary) and the following deliverance episode, to a short cluster of sayings, though stopping short of … Continue Reading

Did the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7 teach Jesus not to be racist?

The gospel lectionary reading for Trinity 14 in Year B is Mark 7.24-37, which includes the episode of Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman that often brings readers up short, containing as it does what appears to be a rather shocking insult. Jesus is seeking to withdraw from public attention, needing some time for rest … Continue Reading