The politics and power dynamics of marriage and divorce in Matthew’s society — and in our own — are too complex to cover adequately in this kind of commentary, and we would be unwise to take this teaching as any sort of blanket pronouncement on whether or not divorce and remarriage can be accepted by Christians under any social norms.        when I have learned your righteous judgments. To practice these things is not only to fulfill the form of a commandment, but is to choose life in God. 9For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building. O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Sixth Sunday after Epiphany 2020 (Year A) Purity of Heart in Human Relationships “To look with lust violates relationships. The alternative reading, Sirach 15:15-20, echoes the same theme, albeit without the historical particularity of Deuteronomy’s framing story of the Israelites about to enter the land of promise. member of the community is that “God gives the growth.” Here Paul drops all irony and self-subverting use of spiritualist language and tells the Corinthians forthrightly that they are drawn together by God in “common purpose,” to be “God’s field, God’s building” for bringing about right-relationships of shared well-being without faction or division. In the Roman Rite the Peace is held until just before Communion, when the people will bring themselves to the altar to receive the sacrament and offer themselves to be living sacrifices to God. Dr. Paul Nancarrow is an Episcopal priest retired from full-time parish ministry. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Regarding anyone with lust is to reduce that person to being merely a means to one’s own gratification; it violates right-relationship not simply in the breaking of fidelity, but, worse, in the refusal to receive and accept a person as a person apart from what pleasure one might imagine getting out of them. Regarding anyone with lust is to reduce that person to being merely a means to one’s own gratification; it violates right-relationship not simply in the breaking of fidelity, but, worse, in the refusal to receive and accept a person. Paul and Apollos each did important work in the community, and each attracted believers who had particular affinities for the styles and contents of their teaching. For each of these commandments, therefore, the real fulfillment lies not merely in not doing the thing the commandment forbids, but in actively doing the thing God’s love empowers. 21 ‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgement.” 22But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire. Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Sixth Sunday after Epiphany 2020 (Year A) February 10, 2020 pmajorins. This section of the Sermon is more programmatic than the last, consisting of a series of familiar Torah commandments which Jesus reinterprets for life in his community.        that we should fully keep them. Press Esc to cancel. What matters in making promises is not the external form of witness one might call upon, but the internal disposition and intention to do as promised. If you “disobey” the law of gravity by, let us say, walking off the roof of your house, your subsequent fall to the ground and breaking of a leg is not gravity “punishing” you or “taking vengeance” on you for breaking its rules. Apart from courtrooms or certain civil oath-takings, phrases like “so help me God” or “as God is my witness” are generally taken today as conversational conventions, and not real vows before God. These finer points of what we might call our psychospirituality disorder are not Sirach’s primary interest here, although they would have their place in a larger conversation on choice and act. 16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. , echoes the same theme, albeit without the historical particularity of Deuteronomy’s framing story of the Israelites about to enter the land of promise. It is important here to remember Paul’s special use of the word “flesh.” In this usage, “flesh” does not mean “body” or “matter”; Paul is not invoking some supposed superiority of “pure spirit” over “material body.” That would be as bad a mistake as the claimed superiority of the elitists, and deeply inconsistent with Paul’s insistence on the physical incarnation and “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4) humanity of Jesus. Reconciliation, commitment in relationship, integrity in speech are works of love that enact God’s ideals of right-relationship. It is important here to remember Paul’s special use of the word “flesh.” In this usage, “flesh” does not mean “body” or “matter”; Paul is not invoking some supposed superiority of “pure spirit” over “material body.” That would be as bad a mistake as the claimed superiority of the elitists, and deeply inconsistent with Paul’s insistence on the physical incarnation and “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4) humanity of Jesus. 8The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labour of each. To borrow the key phrase from Deuteronomy, Jesus shows how each of these commandments provides opportunity not simply to fulfill legal obligation, but to “choose life.” Some of these commandments seem more directly relevant to our lives, some more limited to Jesus’ first-century context; all of them show that the Way of Jesus means making choices to practice receiving and offering in love. The Corinthian elitists are not “unspiritual” and “merely human” because they have bodies, but because they desire personal privilege and position more than they desire to love one another as God in Jesus loves them. picks up immediately where last week’s reading left off. 5 What then is Apollos? The readings for the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany reflect on what it means to choose to follow the way of God’s ideals. 4 You laid down your commandments, *        who walk in the law of the Lord! His theological work has focused on process-relational interpretations of liturgy, and especially on the co-acting of divine action and human action in sacramental work and worship. The Corinthian elitists are not “unspiritual” and “merely human” because they have bodies, but because they desire personal privilege and position more than they desire to love one another as God in Jesus loves them. 15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, February 16, 2020 By Todd Cook | February 16, 2020.