The Bible says that initially seventy Israelites went down to Egypt. As they multiplied, they must have constituted a cultural, political, and religious challenge. Scripture asserts that Egypt solved the problem by enslaving them. In response, the Israelites cried out to their God, who “remembered” the covenant made with their Father Abraham, and went looking for a Saviour. He found Moses, a most interesting character. Rescued from the pharaonic decree for Hebrew male infanticide by the Pharaoah’s daughter herself, he was reared in the royal household. All went well until Moses intervened in mistreatment of a Hebrew slave by killing the abuser. Immediately, Moses wentRead More →

You probably remember Johnny Cash’s funny and popular song about a boy who was called Sue by his parents and “had to get tough or die.” It reminds the hearer that naming is important. In ancient times, well-chosen names and nicknames were seen as propitious, portend the qualities and future prospects of the named child. Likewise, modern research has taught us that power names contribute to one’s success and frivolous names can retard it. Prior to our 1979 Prayer book revision, the Naming of the Child was a very important element of the service for baptism of an infant; it was then that the parentsRead More →

In today’s Gospel story, Jesus and the disciples are in a Gentile region near the Galilee, close enough to home base for people to know about the new ministry of Jesus. A Gentile woman asks healing for her daughter. Jesus does not even acknowledge her presence at first. That should not surprise us, as Jews did not interact with Gentiles and rabbis did not speak directly to any unrelated female. A barrier has been crossed. When she persists, Jesus explains that his ministry is strictly to the Jewish People. But she will not take no for an answer, blocking his path by kneeling at hisRead More →

The official name for today’s celebration in the Episcopal Church is the Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. But it is traditionally referred to as the Assumption. In a way, the contemporary meaning of the word “assumption” applies to today’s feast, for the early Church assumed that Mary had been assumed from the end of her life, — reunited with her Beloved Son in heaven. In the Orthodox Communion, today’s feast is denominated the Dormition, the falling asleep, of the Virgin, who at the end of her earthly life wakes up in the arms of the Saviour. And, inRead More →

Today’s gospel story [Mt. 14: 22-33] is a very well-known tale. Jesus has the disciples set sail alone onto the lake under inclement conditions, while he stays ashore to pray. Early morning they spy him walking towards them on the water and assume he is a ghost. Just as Jesus tells them not to fear, the ever-impetuous Peter asks permission, jumps out of the boat in fear of the high winds, and begins to sink. Jesus raises him up, and they get into boat; and Jesus is then worshipped. This “water walking” story appears to have been based upon a popular tale about the greatRead More →

In life, food is basic to our life and to survival. In the Scripture, Jesus is as often depicted sharing food as he is shown praying. His first miracle story took place at a lavish wedding dinner. His feeding ministry drew repeated criticism for being open to all people. He chose to convey his Eucharistic Presence under the appearances of bread and wine. Food is important. Today we have what is probably the most well-known feeding story of all, {Mt. 14: 13-21] . It is indeed a master tale, so important and so vastly rich in its symbolism, that it is the only miracle storyRead More →