Musings for Proper 05 - Ordinary 10
Lectionary Year C        June 10, 2007        cp05o10g
Musings on the Lectionary Readings    (paired to the Gospel)
    for  Proper 05 - Ordinary 10 Sunday
by Philip W. Gilman
1 Kings 17: 17--24        Psa. 30        Gal. 1: 11--24        Luke 7: 11--17
Hebrew Scriptures: TNK; Greek Addendum: NIV.
Symbols:    ^citation^;    *1 =footnote;    _italics_
    "We ... are a serious and slow-witted people," the rector explained.  "We cannot, like others, unite the pleasurable and fun with the serious and useful."*1
1 Kings 17: 17--24

    ^After a while, the son of the mistress of the house fell sick, and his illness grew worse, until he had no breath left in him.  She said to Elijah, "What harm have I done you, O man of God, that you should come here to recall my sin and cause the death of my son?"^ (17-18)
    As a Christian, pastor or lay person, one must attentively consider the widow's plaint.  She has fed and housed Elijah, free of charge, for some time*2, so she is fully in her rights to think herself innocent of any charge by him against her.  The Jerome Biblical Commentary notes:
    The widow interprets her son's death, according to a mentality
    that prevailed even into NT times (cf. Jn 9:2), as a punishment for
    her sins, drawn to God's attention by the presence of the man of
    God in her home.*3
    Does not this mentality prevail even into the 21st century?  Are not many people today, even church-goers, apprehensive, even fearful, when a priest or minister comes to call?  Certainly all of us, even priests and ministers, are guilty of our sins, and therefore stand on equal footing before the holy and righteous God.  What is it about the presence of a woman or man of God that inspires anxiety and alarm?
    For far too long and way too loudly, much of the Church and many lay persons have proclaimed a "gospel" of sin, guilt, conviction and punishment, as if God, through Jesus' death and resurrection, accomplished nothing.  But the Bible teaches that we are ^free from the law of sin and death.^ (Rom. 8: 2)  And Jesus said that if the Christ has set you free, you are free, indeed.  So what do God and the Bible mean by "free"?  Does the Church use the same definition?
    Christians, whether clergy or lay, need to put on the clothing of freedom and distribute it freely to all who will believe in God's love through Christ.
Psa. 30
  [2--13, TNK]
    ^I extol You, O LORD,
        for You have lifted me up,
        and not let my enemies rejoice over me.^ [2]
    The Apostle Paul asserts that believers have been "lifted up", raised with Christ*4, and that God has made each of us a new creation (2 Cor. 5: 17).  ^If we have been united with [Jesus] like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with [Christ] in his resurrection.  For we know that our old self was crucified with [Jesus] so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.^ (Rom. 6: 5-7)
    Did you see that?  ^[H]as been freed from sin.^  _Has been_: an accomplished, completed act of God.  As Jesus said, ^"It is finished."^ (Jn. 19: 30)  Now that you see it, will you believe it?  Will you accept God's Word that you and I, and all who believe in Christ, are ^no longer... slaves to sin^?  ^"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."^ (Jn. 8: 36)  Paul, on our side of the crucifixion and resurrection, proclaims that the "if" condition has been removed by God so that Christ _has_ set us free and that we _are_ free indeed.  And that is Good News: the Gospel of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    ^O LORD, my God,
        I cried out to You,
        and You healed me.^ [3]
The medical profession considers one ^healed^ when the infecting agent has been eradicated, when the patient is free of the illness.  Need I say more?
    ^You turned my lament into dancing,
        you undid my sackcloth and girded me with joy,
        that [my] whole being might sing hymns to You endlessly;
        O LORD my God, I will praise You forever.^ [12-13, _sic_]
So wear your freedom, Christian.  God paid a lot for that clean shirt.
Luke 7: 11--17

    ^When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."^ (13)
    What kind of pastor are you?  What about your parishioners?  Does your, and their, evangel cause people to cringe in fear of accusations of "Sinner!" and "Repent!"?  Is your, and their, gospel one of judgement and retribution?  Or do people smile and welcome you, and them, because, like Jesus, you and they bring a message of sympathy, hope and peace?
    Did Jesus tell His disciples, "Follow me," or, "Do your own thing."?
Gal. 1: 11--24

    ^I want you to know, [beloved], that the gospel I [have written] is not something that man made up.  I did not receive it from any [one], nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ^ (11-12) through reading the Bible.
    Admittedly, I am not the Apostle Paul, nor do I lay any claim to equality with him in wisdom and theological understanding.  But, before God, I must confess that, on occasion, by the grace of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I get the sense that such words as these apply to my "Musings".  I leave it to you readers to assess the validity of my notion.
    Peace and freedom in Jesus,

        God says "love justice".
        Can you, if you are not just?
        Look!  Hear!  "Love" precedes.

            To this church of law
            and sin, why does Jesus say:
            "My peace I give you"?*5

*1  The rector of Uppsala University, Smithsonian Magazine, May 2007, p.107.
*2  God supplied the food, but she did the work.
*3  Raymond Edward Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer and Roland Edmund Murphy, The Jerome Biblical Commentary, electronic ed., 1:194 (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1968; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996).
*4  Rom. 6: 9-11;  1Cor. 6: 14;  Eph. 2: 4-6;  Col. 2: 12-13.
*5  Haiku poems by Phil Gilman.  Please feel free to use anything by me; just give God the glory, honor and thanks, and me what credit may be due.
(Comments to Phil at