Sunday, September 6, 2015: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


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.”


> Also called “Song of Songs”  or the greatest song as translated from Hebrew.

> A collection of human love songs – sometimes very graphic.

> Some try to make them into something else with other interpretations.




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.


> This is a wedding psalm of the king and a big national event.

> It is addressed to the king rather than to God, which is unusual.

> It seems to address the king as God (chosen by God).

> The queen is actually the queen mother.



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?  There are several named James mentioned in the New Testament.

> It is probably referring to James, the brother of Jesus, but not necessarily written by him.

> It is written in high Greek, which would not have been likely possible by Jesus’ brother.

> This could have been a Jewish-Christian sermon.

> It tries to correct one of Paul’s misunderstandings.

> Be not just believers of the word, but doers as well!




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.”


> The speech is directed to a non-Jewish audience, since they had to explain Jewish laws and rules.

> In the Torah, hands are washed when handling sacred foods.

> There were different laws in Jerusalem than in the countryside where water was very scarce.

> The orthodox Jews keep milk and meat separate.

> The quote that Jesus gave is also found in Isaiah (29:13).

> Verse 17 is missing where Jesus explains things just to his disciples.

> The chapter is a composite – transitions from one topic to another.