Muddling through.

Signpost for June 9 2013, Ordinary Sunday 10: 1 Kings 17:8-16, Gal. 1:11-24, Luke 7:11-17.

My Bible has two parallel upright lines in the margin at the side of particular piece of the text that means “parallel in another book”, and gives the reference or two. Now, I was taught rather a long time ago that the three first Gospels in the Second Testament were written a very long time after the events they record. I didn’t take much note of it, discounting these “Low Church” ideas; we “Anglo-Catholics” knew better. Nowadays I’m more tolerant, and look for down-to-earth explanations for the events that may have been blown-up by being passed on by word of mouth.

Now you may ask what all that blurb is about. Well, I had made a mistake. You see, our first reading today in 1 Kings is the story of Elijah turning the jar of meal & the jug of oil bottomless. But I started reading at the wrong point, and read about the prophet bringing back to life the dead son of a widow, and it’s the next story in the book! I thought, aha, Luke thought, “We can’t let Elijah look better than Jesus in reviving dead widows’ sons. I’ll include a story I’ve been given about Jesus meeting and resuscitating a widow’s son being carried dead through the town gate of Nain. I wonder why Mark didn’t mention it. My informant seem reliable so we’ll put it in.” So when I read the story in my Bible, there are no upright parallel lines in the margin.

But what about Jairus’ daughter, both Mark and Matthew have her story, and the parallel sign in the margin their text ? Well, we’re told she’d only just died, and that only because Jesus had been delayed and got there too late. In the original story, Mark’s, Jesus shoved the crowd out, and brought the girl to life. When I was in the fire brigade I was taught how to resuscitate, without any special gear, a person who had stopped breathing not too long before. I never had to do it, but some amazing cases get in the news from time to time.

That leaves us with the Epistle to muddle up. Galatia is the inland area of Turkey, around Konya and Kaysen on modern maps, an area that Paul visited during his first journey. He has found out that others following him have spoiled his work by teaching that in being a Christian you have to conform to a set of rules (especially circumcision).

Paul didn’t have Gospel Stories to provide texts to preach on, like we have, courtesy of the four Gospellers. On the Damascus road he learned only one, the one that starts thus: “No greater love …” (Jn 15:13) which defines the word “love” as a verb, not just a noun.

The Greeks in his congregation had to learn that the whole universe has only one creator God, and that is Love, not a collection of petty gods coveting each other’s patch. To the Jews he taught that love doesn’t consist of conforming to a list of rules to the last dot and tittle, but to be loving the whole of creation and ALL those that live in it.

There’s plenty in that lot to argue about. Let’s be having it! The address is

Brye Blackhall (you guess!)


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