So, I am puzzled that the Agnus Day comic changes on my blog when the writer creates a new strip. So, the strip on each blog changes, making the commentary somewhat unintelligible (the commentary may not match the strip). Ahh! a lesson in humility. Perhaps I will figure out the wrinkle, and discover how to keep the strip that matches the weekly lectionary text.
This week lectionary readings are potentially puzzling. This week, the gospel text moves from John to Mark. The Epistle is from St. James. Both readings force us to examine what does it mean to be religious. The Gospel text reminds us that we fail to live up to the law.
The Hebrew text is from Deuteronomy or the Song of Solomon. The reading from the Pentateuch (Deuteronomy) seems appropriate - an examination of the Law. But how does the Song of Solomon fit with the theme? A spiritual reading seems appropriate, with God as the beloved.
God is the lawgiver and God is the beloved. Perhaps when we focus on God as the lawgiver, we forget that God is our beloved. The beauty of the call is lost when we forget that God calls us out of love, and we know God when we respond to the call of love with loving action towards others.
Eugene Patterson's version (The Message) of James 1:27 reads:
"Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world."
"Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away." Song of Solomon 2.13 (NRSV).