God Speaks through Creation

7 October 2018 –Lectionary 27/ Proper 22


Mark 10:2-16

Jesus' teaching on divorce with his blessing of children. . . [tells] . . . us something of the importance of family in the kingdom of God. . . . The Pharisees question Jesus, knowing full well what was in written the Law of Moses on the matter of divorce; the purpose of the question is to chip away at the popularity of Jesus.

The view that Jesus offers on the question of divorce begins not with what Moses allowed but what God desired. When religious faith makes one focus more on the fallback positions that come because of human weakness than the life God hopes for the faithful, then that religion has served us poorly. We are always called to strive for a bar that may be out of reach, which should not alter our attempt to reach it.

In the second part of the lectionary reading Jesus is saying that just as we do not discard a mate, we should not discard children, for they too matter to God. There were perhaps no two groups more vulnerable than women and children in Palestine culture, and Jesus here defines the worth of both. –– Ricky A. Woods

Genesis 2:18-24

The recognition that something was missing for the man was not the man's but God's. What God does is provide the gift of grace through a woman [who] will become a partner in life with the man. . . . It is through divine initiative that the partnership of a man and woman living in mutual support and care for one another are established as the hallmark for the human family. –– Ricky A. Woods

Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12

The writer of Hebrews directs his words to a Jewish community of Christians to help them see how different is the role that Jesus played in the drama of salvation from that of the Old Testament prophets and priest. The point is this: where the prophets and priest played a role and God used them mightily, what Jesus does far exceeds what they had done. Jesus is far better because the mediation he brings to the world is the message that comes from the Son, who knows the Father in the most intimate details. Jesus is God's last word and God's definitive act in seeking to reconcile the world to himself.

The actions of Jesus are so final that Jesus does what no other priest before him had ever done when he finishes his work of making atonement: he sits down as a sign of a completed work. The work that Jesus does makes him lower than angels because his work makes him taste death for all of creation. This subservient role is short-lived because now through his obedience Jesus is raised to the point of having all things in subjection to him. Obedience, suffering, and death are the means that God uses in Jesus the son to elevate him and make him far better than all others who have come before him. This is truly the work of sonship. –– Ricky A. Woods

Ricky A. Woods, formerly the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Senior Mentor at United Theological Seminary in Trotwood, Ohio, continues to serve as the senior minister of First Baptist Church–West in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Homily Service 42, no. 4 (2009): 47-58.

David Turnbloom