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Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

Lent 2B

Cutting Out the Covenant Perhaps the compilers of the Lectionary intended a compassionate reprieve for those who might have to explain the meaning of circumcision to their youngest and most inquisitive learners.  It is, however, a lamentable omission for two reasons. The first is that it truncates the literary markers of covenant-making, which typically include…

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Genesis 9:8-17

Lent 1B

Covenants For preachers interested in holding a cohesive theme through Lent, this year’s Old Testament lectionary readings provide an opportunity to reflect deeply on the nature of God’s relationship with God’s people through covenant.  This Sunday, it is his covenant not to destroy the earth, next Sunday, his choosing and making a great nation through…

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Genesis 1:1-5

Epiphany 1B

Not How But Why A great deal of ink has been spilled on these opening chapters of Genesis, particularly in the last 200 years. With perceived threats from science, particularly evolutionary science, Christians have been anxious to make sense of Scripture’s creation narrative.  Literal 24 hour days or day-age theory? A gap large enough for…

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Genesis 45:1-15

Proper 15A

After chapters and chapters of third person narration, reading Joseph’s story through someone else’s lens, we might come to this chapter eager to hear how Joseph makes sense of the unfolding events. At last, Joseph lets his brothers know who he is. He tells his own story. He could have told a story about a…

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Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

Proper 14A

Patterns of preference and favoritism and jealousy replay themselves with uncomfortable regularity through the history of God’s people. Abraham’s son Ishmael is nearly written out of the story by Sarah’s jealousy.  Isaac and Rebekah are #TeamEsau and #TeamJacob accordingly. Jacob shames Leah and honors Rachel.  No doubt the ten sons of Leah have noticed Jacob’s…

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Genesis 32:22-31

Proper 13A

If you are searching Hebrew Scripture for parenting advice, healthy examples of marital bliss … well, you probably shouldn’t. The Bible is not a book about functional families. The Bible, chock full of dysfunctional people, is always the story of a functional God. Jacob’s whole life has been clouded by competition with the twin brother…

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Genesis 29:15-28

Proper 12A

“When morning came, there was Leah!” Hands down that is one of the funniest lines in the Bible.  Imagine the fun a good Hollywood director would have setting up the scene and the dramatic flair of music to accompany the moment of the big reveal.  Jacob wakes up, wipes the sleep out of his eyes,…

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Genesis 28:10-19a

Proper 11A

It’s a shame the RCL cuts off this story in Genesis 28 before getting to the final 3 verses.  Perhaps it would be a stretch to say those verses are the kicker but for certain they tell us a great deal about this rascal Jacob who is the focus of this middle part of Genesis. …

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Genesis 25:19-34

Proper 10A

Since the fulfilling of God’s covenant with Abraham hinged hugely on Abraham’s having descendants, you would think that in the childbearing department things would have gone more easily.  And yet in story after story we deal with some level of infertility that becomes a deep source of concern and that God eventually is said to…

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Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67

Proper 9A

Last week we looked at the exceedingly fraught and difficult story of the binding (and near sacrifice) of Isaac in Genesis 22.  We noted how maddeningly spare that narrative is.  The story cries out—nearly screams out—for more details.  Instead we get a crisp, bare-bones narrative that dispatches with the whole terrible story in a short…

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