Acts 3:12-19 – Peter addresses the people: Faith in Christ made this man well.

Psalm 4 – The LORD does wonders for the faithful. (Ps. 4:3)

1 John 3:1-7 – See what love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.

Luke 24:36b-48  Resurrection appearance. Jesus eats food. Peace be with you. You are my witnesses.

Our gospel texts for the 50 days of Easter come from Luke and John, even though we’re in a Markan year. So this coming Sunday (Easter 3B, April 19), we have a resurrection appearance from Luke 24. I’d like to use this post to overview what is coming.

APRIL

April 26, Easter 4B – We have Good Shepherd Sunday, John 10 (the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep)

MAY

May 3, Easter 5B – We have John 15, “I am the vine, you are the branches….”

May 10 Easter 6B – We’re still in John 15, “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. I have said these things that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. You did not choose me; I chose you, and appointed you to bear fruit.” It is also Mother’s Day weekend.

May 17 is Ascension – We read again from Luke 24: “stay in the city until you clothed with power from on high.”

May 24 (Memorial Day weekend) is Pentecost – We get John 15 again, “When the Advocate comes, he will bear witness to me… lead you into all truth.


Trinity – May 31, 2015John 3:1-17 – Nicodemus. Being born of the Spirit, which blows where it wills.

JUNE: 2 Corinthians

In June I will be writing on and encouraging our congregations to delve into the epistle texts from 2 Corinthians. We will be providing a resource for this shortly.

Pentecost 2B – June 7, 2015. 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 – So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed daily.

(Gospel: Mark 3:20-35 A house divided cannot stand. All sins forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.)

Pentecost 3B – June 14, 2015. 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17 – We walk by faith and not by sight, at home in the body and away from the Lord.

(Gospel: Mark 4:26-34 – The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.)

Pentecost 4B – June 21, 2015. 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 – Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation. We have endured beatings, riots, hunger, imprisonment…

(Gospel: Mark 4:35-41 – Jesus calms the sea: Peace. Be still.)

Pentecost 5B – June 28, 2015. 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 – During a severe ordeal of affliction, the Macedonians joy and poverty overflow in a wealth of generosity.

(Gospel: Mark 5:21-43 – They come to the house of Jairus, where they heal his daughter and then the woman with the hemorrhage.)

JULY

Pentecost 6B – July 5, 2015. 2 Corinthians 12:2-10 – Paul’s out of body experience, and his thorn in the flesh. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

(Gospel: Mark 6:1-13 – A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house. Jesus sends the twelve two-by-two.)

2 Corinthians Study ends

Pentecost 7B – July 12, 2015. Mark 6:14-29 – Herod, Herodias and John the Baptist’s head on a platter.

ELCA Youth Gathering: July 15-19, 2015
MYLE and DAYLE: July 12-15, 2015

Pentecost 8B – July 19, 2015. Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 – Jesus to his disciples: “Come away to a deserted place and rest for a while.”

5 Weeks of Bread Texts 

Pentecost 9B – July 26, 2015. John 6:1-21 – Feeding of the 5,000. Jesus walks on water. (First lesson: David and Bathsheba.)

AUGUST

Pentecost 10B – August 2, 2015. John 6:24-35 – I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry.

Pentecost 11B – August 9, 2015. John 6:35, 41-51 – I am the bread of life, the living bread which comes down from heaven. No one comes unless the Father draws, and I will raise you up on the last day.

Pentecost 12B – August 16, 2015. John 6:51-58 – Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them. The one who eats this bread will live forever.

Pentecost 13B – August 23, 2015. John 6:56-69  – Eat my flesh for eternal life. This is a difficult teaching; who can accept it? Does this bother you? Do you also wish to go away? Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,

Bread texts from John 6 end.

Pentecost 14B – August 30, 2015. Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 – Jesus: It is not what goes in, but what comes out that defiles. Jesus eats with unwashed hands.

SEPTEMBER

We’re in Mark chapters 7-9. The Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, Peter’s confession, what it means to be great, those not against us are for us.

OCTOBER

October is Mark 10, until we hit Reformation Sunday the 28th. Jesus teaches about divorce, accepting the kingdom as a child, use of wealth and riches (10/14), and power (sitting at my right and left in the kingdom).

NOVEMBER 

November is All Saints, then Mark 12 (the widow’s coins) and Mark 13 (the end is coming, not one stone will be left on another), followed by Christ the King (11/25).

Stewardship

There are some great stewardship texts in our gospel readings for 10/11 and 11/8 in terse Markan form. Stewardship means management. The Bible word we often translate “stewardship” is “oiko-nomia,” from which we get our word, “economy.” It literally means “the law of the house.” The steward cares for the master’s house, wealth and resources.

If we use “stewardship” only to mean “fund raising,” we misunderstand the concept. We are called to do more than raise funds for an institution. We are called to invite people to recognize all life as a gift, and everything we have as God-given resources for us to steward for God’s purposes.

We cannot develop good stewards without raising faith. Manipulating people to give apart from faith is fund-raising at best. Our role is to nurture open hearts, compassion for the world, and a lavish generosity that comes from a steadfast faith. How do we nurture that faith in people, members, and non-members alike?

Consider the things that nurture faith: Bible study, prayer, caring conversation, worship, and so on. This fall invite people into a five-week series on Five Practices of Faith.

This is an opportunity to get as many people in your congregation as possible in prayer and study, and even some who are not part of your congregation. Stay tuned for more on this.

Bread Texts

So, as you can see, the John 6 bread texts run five weeks July 26-August 26, beginning with The Feeding of the 5,000.

But don’t miss this: even before the bread texts we have eating scenes, meal scenes going on. July 12, just before the ELCA Youth Gathering, and the first Sunday after we finish up with 2 Corinthians, we have Herod’s “Power Lunch,” in which women are called in to do the men’s bidding, and John the Baptist’s head is brought in on a platter. This is in strict contrast with the meal that Jesus offers in July 26’s gospel, the Feeding of the Five Thousand, where all are welcome and compassion reigns. After the bread texts, in September, Jesus continues by talking about the significance of what goes in ones mouth and what comes out of it. Jesus’ disciples eat with their hands unwashed. It is what comes from within that defiles. Jesus is concerned about matters of the heart.

In his book The Gospels on Sunday, Gordon Lathrop challenges us to see all these eating texts and all the “house” texts as cryptic messages for the house-churches for whom they are written. As Mark’s gospel is being read at the table in these house-churches, every house image in those gospel texts evokes the house-church in which they’re sitting and listening.

Mark’s “House” Texts

On June 7 the gospel text (Mark 3:20-35) begins “and the crowd…” but the sentence actually began at the end of verse 19 with, “And they went home.” The text, και ερχεται εις οικον, says literally, “they went to house.” Then such a crowd gathered that they couldn’t eat. Was this the experience of the early church? Did the crowds create a problem for the meal?

“House” appears an astonishing number of times in Mark’s narrative. Look below, almost every single chapter. It’s in more than any other gospel. There is a reason for this. Lathrop says these house texts are communicating core values to the house churches for which Mark is writing his gospel.

A search for “house” in Mark, in an English Bible only got 18 hits in Mark’s gospel. But a search for “οικ” in the Greek text comes up with 34 hits in Mark. That’s more than an average of two per chapter in Mark’s 16 short chapters. There are more Greek references than English because sometimes oikos gets translated “at home” or in other ways to make it fit our English language. Below are the references. Compare these 34 references in Mark’s 16 chapters to only nine references in Mark’s 21 chapters. Lathrop has this right. John is writing with the house-churches in mind.

From the references below, I want to offer some conjecture about the nature of house churches or at least Mark’s vision for what the house churches should be like.

  • Some people are invited to participate in Jesus’ itinerant ministry while others are told to return home, literally, “to the house.” There are apostles, there are pastors and there are members of the body of Christ. Some are to “go home” and tell their friends. The good news of Jesus is to be told in the house.
  • All are welcome in the house-church.
  • The house is a place where people eat together – share table fellowship – with people of all walks of life, including tax collectors and sinners (2:15).
  • The house is to be a place of prayer for all people/nations/ethnicities.
  • The house is a place to come for healing. This will sometimes create chaos.
  • It is not to become a den of robbers as Jesus felt the temple had become.
  • Jesus is the “Master of the house” or “Lord of the house” (ο κυριος της οικιας) who may return at any moment (Mark 13:35).
  • Jesus is the cornerstone of the house-church.
  • A house divided will not stand (conflict will kill a church).
  • The house is the place where disciples discuss what happens out in the world.
  • Since the temple will be destroyed (not one stone left on another) the house will become the new place for God’s presence. (This happened even in Jewish communities, with the destruction of the temple and the development of home Passover celebrations or Seders.)
  • Those who are alienated from their “home” or “house” by family members will find a new “home” or “house” with a new family.

Add these together with all the references to meals, including the feeding of the 5,000, and you have a pretty interesting picture that Mark has painted of the church. A chief mark of Jesus’ ministry is commensality: eating together with people of different walks of life, outcasts, sinners, lepers, tax-collectors.

I hope this year in Mark will inspire us to preach the implications of this ancient gospel for the church.

Detailed House Texts in Mark’s Gospel

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 1:29 και ευθεως εκ της συναγωγης εξελθοντες ηλθον εις την οικιαν σιμωνος και ανδρεου μετα ιακωβου και ιωαννου (As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 2:1 και παλιν εισηλθεν εις καπερναουμ δι ημερων και ηκουσθη οτι εις οικον εστιν (When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 2:11 σοι λεγω εγειραι και αρον τον κραββατον σου και υπαγε εις τον οικον σου (‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 2:15 και εγενετο εν τω κατακεισθαι αυτον εν τη οικια αυτου και πολλοι τελωναι και αμαρτωλοι συνανεκειντο τω ιησου και τοις μαθηταις αυτου ησαν γαρ πολλοι και ηκολουθησαν αυτω (And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax-collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples-for there were many who followed him.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 2:26 πως εισηλθεν εις τον οικον του θεου επι αβιαθαρ του αρχιερεως και τους αρτους της προθεσεως εφαγεν ους ουκ εξεστιν φαγειν ει μη τοις ιερευσιν και εδωκεν και τοις συν αυτω ουσιν (He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.’)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 3:19 και ιουδαν ισκαριωτην ος και παρεδωκεν αυτον και ερχονται εις οικον (Then he went home)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 3:25 και εαν οικια εφ εαυτην μερισθη ου δυναται σταθηναι η οικια εκεινη (And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 3:27 ου δυναται ουδεις τα σκευη του ισχυρου εισελθων εις την οικιαν αυτου διαρπασαι εαν μη πρωτον τον ισχυρον δηση και τοτε την οικιαν αυτου διαρπασει (But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 5:19 ο δε ιησους ουκ αφηκεν αυτον αλλα λεγει αυτω υπαγε εις τον οικον σου προς τους σους και αναγγειλον αυτοις οσα σοι ο κυριος εποιησεν και ηλεησεν σε (But Jesus refused, and said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.’)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 5:38 και ερχεται εις τον οικον του αρχισυναγωγου και θεωρει θορυβον κλαιοντας και αλαλαζοντας πολλα (When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 6:4 ελεγεν δε αυτοις ο ιησους οτι ουκ εστιν προφητης ατιμος ει μη εν τη πατριδι αυτου και εν τοις συγγενεσιν και εν τη οικια αυτου (Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 6:10 και ελεγεν αυτοις οπου εαν εισελθητε εις οικιαν εκει μενετε εως αν εξελθητε εκειθεν (He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 7:17 και οτε εισηλθεν εις οικον απο του οχλου επηρωτων αυτον οι μαθηται αυτου περι της παραβολης (When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 7:24 και εκειθεν αναστας απηλθεν εις τα μεθορια τυρου και σιδωνος και εισελθων εις την οικιαν ουδενα ηθελεν γνωναι και ουκ ηδυνηθη λαθειν (From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 7:30 και απελθουσα εις τον οικον αυτης ευρεν το δαιμονιον εξεληλυθος και την θυγατερα βεβλημενην επι της κλινης (So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 8:3 και εαν απολυσω αυτους νηστεις εις οικον αυτων εκλυθησονται εν τη οδω τινες γαρ αυτων μακροθεν ηκασιν (If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way-and some of them have come from a great distance.’)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 8:26 και απεστειλεν αυτον εις τον οικον αυτου λεγων μηδε εις την κωμην εισελθης μηδε ειπης τινι εν τη κωμη (Then he sent him away to his home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 9:28 και εισελθοντα αυτον εις οικον οι μαθηται αυτου επηρωτων αυτον κατ ιδιαν οτι ημεις ουκ ηδυνηθημεν εκβαλειν αυτο (When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 9:33 και ηλθεν εις καπερναουμ και εν τη οικια γενομενος επηρωτα αυτους τι εν τη οδω προς εαυτους διελογιζεσθε ( Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 10:10 και εν τη οικια παλιν οι μαθηται αυτου περι του αυτου επηρωτησαν αυτον (Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 10:29 αποκριθεις δε ο ιησους ειπεν αμην λεγω υμιν ουδεις εστιν ος αφηκεν οικιαν η αδελφους η αδελφας η πατερα η μητερα η γυναικα η τεκνα η αγρους ενεκεν εμου και του ευαγγελιου (Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 10:30 εαν μη λαβη εκατονταπλασιονα νυν εν τω καιρω τουτω οικιας και αδελφους και αδελφας και μητερας και τεκνα και αγρους μετα διωγμων και εν τω αιωνι τω ερχομενω ζωην αιωνιον (who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age-houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions-and in the age to come eternal life.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 11:17 και εδιδασκεν λεγων αυτοις ου γεγραπται οτι ο οικος μου οικος προσευχης κληθησεται πασιν τοις εθνεσιν υμεις δε εποιησατε αυτον σπηλαιον ληστων (He was teaching and saying, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it a den of robbers.’)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 12:10 ουδε την γραφην ταυτην ανεγνωτε λιθον ον απεδοκιμασαν οι οικοδομουντες ουτος εγενηθη εις κεφαλην γωνιας (Have you not read this scripture: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;) [οικοδομουντες is the word for “builders,” or “house-makers.”]

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 12:40
 οι κατεσθιοντες τας οικιας των χηρων και προφασει μακρα προσευχομενοι ουτοι ληψονται περισσοτερον κριμα (They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.’)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 13:1 και εκπορευομενου αυτου εκ του ιερου λεγει αυτω εις των μαθητων αυτου διδασκαλε ιδε ποταποι λιθοι και ποταπαι οικοδομαι (As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!’) [οικοδομαι are “buildings.”)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 13:2 και ιησους αποκριθεις ειπεν αυτω βλεπεις ταυτας τας μεγαλας οικοδομας ου μη αφεθη λιθος επι λιθω ος ου μη καταλυθη (Then Jesus asked him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.’)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 13:15 ο δε επι του δωματος μη καταβατω εις την οικιαν μηδε εισελθετω αραι τι εκ της οικιας αυτου (someone on the housetop must not go down or enter the house to take anything away.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 13:34 ως ανθρωπος αποδημος αφεις την οικιαν αυτου και δους τοις δουλοις αυτου την εξουσιαν και εκαστω το εργον αυτου και τω θυρωρω ενετειλατο ινα γρηγορη (It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 13:35 γρηγορειτε ουν ουκ οιδατε γαρ ποτε ο κυριος της οικιας ερχεται οψε η μεσονυκτιου η αλεκτοροφωνιας η πρωι (Therefore, keep awake-for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 14:3 και οντος αυτου εν βηθανια εν τη οικια σιμωνος του λεπρου κατακειμενου αυτου ηλθεν γυνη εχουσα αλαβαστρον μυρου ναρδου πιστικης πολυτελους και συντριψασα το αλαβαστρον κατεχεεν αυτου κατα της κεφαλης ( While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 14:14 και οπου εαν εισελθη ειπατε τω οικοδεσποτη οτι ο διδασκαλος λεγει που εστιν το καταλυμα οπου το πασχα μετα των μαθητων μου φαγω (and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 14:58 οτι ημεις ηκουσαμεν αυτου λεγοντος οτι εγω καταλυσω τον ναον τουτον τον χειροποιητον και δια τριων ημερων αλλον αχειροποιητον οικοδομησω (‘We heard him say, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.”‘)

ΚΑΤΑ      ΜΑΡΚΟΝ 15:29 και οι παραπορευομενοι εβλασφημουν αυτον κινουντες τας κεφαλας αυτων και λεγοντες ουα ο καταλυων τον ναον και εν τρισιν ημεραις οικοδομων (Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days.)