Having established in the verses immediately prior to this that the gifts of God’s Spirit are gifts of love, receiving and offering in freedom and gratitude, and those who do not love do not discern the Spirit, Paul here addresses those who consider themselves to be spiritually advanced, “I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.” The tables are turned: the eloquence and prestige the elitists thought had demonstrated their spirituality have in fact led to “jealousy and quarreling among you,” showing that they are “of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations.” Their claims to have more-than-human status because they follow superior teachers instead shows them to be “merely human.”. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. What is Paul? ; I sometimes think of Paul’s special use of “flesh” as indicating a kind of cancer on the spirit, a mutation of desire that leads to worse and worse attempts at self-satisfaction rather than giving and receiving in superjective relationship with God. The Rev. Instead, the community in Corinth should look beyond factions devoted to teachers, to see instead that they all together are a work-in-progress with God. Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany Year A February 16, 2020 Home. Brothers and sisters in Christ: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is related to the bodily appetites; but it is also a turn of the psyche towards shorter-term and lesser satisfactions, rather than the satisfaction of the aims of God. 9For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building. Importantly, Jesus does not leave us hanging with only the “you shall not”; he also gives the remedy. A sermon for this day might ask the faith community to consider where it could choose life in its neighborhood and people and practices. The Way of Jesus is not only to fulfill the letter of the law “You shall not,” but also to attend to rightness in all relationships. This passage continues Paul’s ironic use of the language of spiritual elitism to undercut the position of the Corinthian elite; but then Paul shifts tone abruptly to straightforward, unironic teaching on leaders and factions. The Greek word is. 26Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. They are works of love that can be practiced in personal life, and can be extended to communities and commitments to justice and peace in public life. Deuteronomy 30:15-20 sees this as a very straightforward, even stark, choice: choose YHWH and live, choose other gods and die. Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost October 11, 2020 3 weeks ago 61 views Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost October 4, 2020 4 weeks ago 77 views Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost Sept. 27, 2020 1 month ago 69 views Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost Sept. 20, 2020 1 … The readings for the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany reflect on what it means to choose to follow the way of God’s ideals. 5 Oh, that my ways were made so direct * Perhaps for us Jesus’ emendation of the commandment “You shall not swear falsely” to “Do not swear at all” might seem less weighty than the other commandments in this series. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. To allow individuals to prepare their hearts and minds for worship, we kindly ask that the Church sanctuary be a place of profound and sacred silence . The Corinthian elitists are not “unspiritual” and “merely human” because they have bodies, but because they desire personal privilege and position more than they desire to love one another as God in Jesus loves them. Instead, the community in Corinth should look beyond factions devoted to teachers, to see instead that they all together are a work-in-progress with God. By linking the “adultery” of post-divorce marriage with the “adultery of the heart” in this passage, Matthew is making the point that relationships of receiving and offering in freedom and gratitude are too important to reduce to leering, projecting, manipulating, or dismissing without doing damage to all parties. Looking with lust also reduces the looker: it violates right-relationship in that the one who looks in this way is refusing to offer their best self for new possibilities of actual relationship. But Jesus declares that our every word — our every action — has the potential to take life or give life. Reconciliation, commitment in relationship, integrity in speech are works of love that enact God’s ideals of right-relationship. 4For when one says, ‘I belong to Paul’, and another, ‘I belong to Apollos’, are you not merely human? The wisdom author asserts that God “has placed before you fire and water; stretch out your hand for whichever you choose” and affirms that every person has the ability to choose to keep God’s commandments, and that “and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice.” There is no hint here of the, between choice and act that Paul will describe so penetratingly in Romans 7, nor of the controversy that would later develop between Pelagius and Augustine over our actual ability to keep the commandments even when we’ve chosen. and he has not given anyone permission to sin. picks up immediately where last week’s reading left off. It is important here to remember Paul’s special use of the word “flesh.” In this usage, “flesh” does not mean “body” or “matter”; Paul is not invoking some supposed superiority of “pure spirit” over “material body.” That would be as bad a mistake as the claimed superiority of the elitists, and deeply inconsistent with Paul’s insistence on the physical incarnation and “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4) humanity of Jesus. Archives. Thematic, intercessory, and scripture-based prayers for Year A - Epiphany - Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Revised Common Lectionary. The readings for the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany reflect on what it means to choose to follow the way of God’s ideals. This is not only a hyperbolic way of warning people to remove temptations to lustful looking or reaching, but the paradoxical recognition that wholeness comes not from satisfying every urge of every bodily member, but from the integrity of practicing receiving and offering in freedom and gratitude. These finer points of what we might call our psychospirituality disorder are not Sirach’s primary interest here, although they would have their place in a larger conversation on choice and act. 2 Happy are they who observe his decrees * FEBRUARY 16, 2020 . also picks up immediately where last week’s reading left off, continuing with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. The verses do not portray God as saying, in effect, “obey my laws and I will reward you, disobey and I will punish you.” Instead the text reads as though God were simply pointing out how things work: if you love God and walk in God’s ways, working together to enact God’s aims for justice and peace, then richness of experience and deeper fulfillment of life will result; if you orient yourself to other aims, to self-centeredness or power-grabbing or entrenched greed, then that will diminish life for yourself and others, and will, sooner or later, spiral downwards into a way of death. Date: February 16, 2020 Liturgical Day: The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany; Year A Summary. member of the community is that “God gives the growth.” Here Paul drops all irony and self-subverting use of spiritualist language and tells the Corinthians forthrightly that they are drawn together by God in “common purpose,” to be “God’s field, God’s building” for bringing about right-relationships of shared well-being without faction or division. 21 ‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgement.” 22But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire. Regarding anyone with lust is to reduce that person to being merely a means to one’s own gratification; it violates right-relationship not simply in the breaking of fidelity, but, worse, in the refusal to receive and accept a person as a person apart from what pleasure one might imagine getting out of them. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. 37Let your word be “Yes, Yes” or “No, No”; anything more than this comes from the evil one. 16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess.