A Reading from the Song of Solomon (2:8-13)
The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
> Only one reading from Solomon in the Lectionary.
> One of five “scrolls” in Judaism.
> Especially read at Passover due to spring theme.
> Not written by Solomon as it was 600 years after his death.
> The passage never refers to God.
> It is a form of a love poem.
> Why is it in the Bible? Beautiful poem? Love between God and man? Metaphors?
Psalm 45:1-2, 7-10
1 My heart is stirring with a noble song;
let me recite what I have fashioned for the king; *
my tongue shall be the pen of a skilled writer.
2 You are the fairest of men; *
grace flows from your lips,
because God has blessed you for ever.
7 Your throne, O God, endures for ever and ever, *
a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom;
you love righteousness and hate iniquity.
8 Therefore God, your God, has anointed you *
with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
9 All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia, *
and the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad.
10 Kings’ daughters stand among the ladies of the court; *
on your right hand is the queen,
adorned with the gold of Ophir.
> Celebration of a king’s wedding.
> International celebration.
> Sealed covenants with other nations by marrying the king’s daughters.
> The writer was the king’s scribe — similar to today’s poet laureate.
> Initially he praises his king, who of course, is is boss.
> “God” in the verse refers to the king.
> Queen refers to the queen mother, who is ready for the bride’s entrance.
A Reading from the Letter of James (1:17-27)
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures. You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing. If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
> Who is James? We don’t really know. There were many James referred to in the Bible.
> This is a very Jewish letter – only two mentions of Jesus.
> Starts out by noting that everything comes from God.
> Warns against rash speech.
> Works of the law – must be put into practice.
> Next week’s lesson – Faith without works is useless. Luther disagreed with this thinking.
> James asserts that you put your faith into motion.
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark (7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23)
Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.” Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
> Jesus is in conflict with the Pharisees and some of the Scribes.
> “Gather” refers to a somewhat sinister gathering.
> Ritual hand washing – some disciples were not doing this elaborate ritual.
> The washing of hands was more of a tradition and not dictated by the Torah.
> Jesus points out that these are secondary at best.
> A hypocrite is a play actor – pretends to be someone they are not.
> Jesus notes that it is not washing that defiles, but what comes from within.
> This is the heart of Jesus’ conflict with the priests.