On Purpose

July 12, 2015

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The 7th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 10 
2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29

(Gospel text is provided at the bottom of this post)

 

If you were here last Sunday, you heard me make the case that Mark’s Gospel is the Action/Adventure movie of the New Testament. But, if we look at today’s passage, it seems more like a horror film. If I were watching this in the theater, this would be the time I’d go get a refill on my popcorn.

When we have a gospel reading like this it’s tempting to turn to the Old Testament or Epistle lesson for a good word, and avoid this gruesome tale altogether. And, as tempting as that was for me, I kept being pulled back to this text. So, let’s stick with Mark’s gospel and see if we can figure out what’s going on here.

15tnb_4The reading today comes immediately after last week’s lesson… the one where the disciples have been empowered by Jesus and given authority to go and do God’s work. They have gone out two by two, with only a staff in hand and sandals on their feet. They were told to take no food, no money, no extra clothes – just GO, just as they were. They were proclaiming that all should repent. They were casting out demons. They were anointing the sick with oil and curing them. Pretty powerful stuff!

Then, all of the sudden, we’re presented with this odd and terribly graphic story about Herod and the beheading of John the Baptist. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: