In today’s texts, we have some Abraham action, a Psalm of jubilation, and Jesus is getting busy- calling a tax collector, raising a girl from the dead, and healing a woman without even intending to heal a woman.
In my mind, it’s a wonderful Sunday to talk about context.
We see Abraham from two very different viewpoints- Genesis and Paul.
The Psalm is one of many Psalms- and the Psalms are wildly diverse.
And in Matthew we see Jesus performing/sharing some miracles.
Taken on their own, we see things one way, but placed in context we gain a different view. Did Jesus like miracles or were they simply a means to the end, to get people to pay attention to what God had to say?
How do we tell the story of Abraham, as Christians, in a way that is honest about who we are without denigrating the fact that the Abraham story also stands on its own?
Are we comfortable with diversity in scripture?
This is my favorite Psalms quote of all time:
“The generations of Jews that assembled the Psalter were comfortable with opposing voices in scripture. They understood how it is possible one day to affirm that the wicked will die, but on another day to admit ruefully that the wicked prosper. One moment a psalm may reawaken an experience of God as angry, and we are reminded of the need to have proper reverence for God; but in another moment, another experience, we know God as tender and full of mercy. We moderns sometimes resist these opposing voices. We call it inconsistency. We think we want consistency, resolution, certainty. But what the Bible gives us is another voice, another chance to see God as God is — not a static entity, but a vast, dynamic reality whom we can only comprehend indirectly, in mystery, poetry, and paradox.”
Melissa Tidwell in introduction to the July/August 2003 edition of Alive Now.
So, I am a context kind of person, but maybe you are off in another direction?