By Travis J. Scholl Commemorating the sixteenth-century events that came to be called the Protestant Reformation is more complicated than it used to be. Triumphalism—a certain weirdly coiffed presidential candidate notwithstanding—is no longer in vogue. We left it behind in favor of our more cosmopolitan sensibilities. Moreover, the drop in religious literacy has further problematized our ..
By Travis Scholl [Advent’s historical] character was that of a joyous looking forward to the Parousia. . . . The fact that Christ has come does not quench this hope; it intensifies it. The historical life and work of the Christ gives us all the more reason for expressing a lively and joyful hope.¹ Is ..
By Travis J. Scholl Allow me a roundabout way to this text from Isaiah. Because I find today’s epistle lesson (James 3:1–12) to be a deeply incriminating word, especially to the preacher who, as Frederick Buechner so evocatively describes him, pulls the little cord that turns on the lectern light and deals out his note ..
By Travis J. Scholl I sense deep sadness in Peter’s voice: “The scripture had to be fulfilled…for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry” (vv. 16–17). I sense sadness in Peter as he stands before the rest of his sibling disciples (the remaining ten, as well as other sisters ..
by Travis J. Scholl Socrates summed up the first principle of philosophers everywhere: to know that we don’t know. And perhaps the “not knowing” is what makes the future so maddening. Everything about it is unknown. Except for this: “… your Lord is coming” (v. 42). Yet, even then, despite the prognostications of a thousand, ..
By Travis J. Scholl The crux of this text is the ongoing conflict in Jeremiah between true and false prophets and Jeremiah’s own ongoing conflict with those whom he perceived to be false prophets in Israel’s midst. “They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord” (v. 16). Their word ..
By Travis J. Scholl Let’s be honest. Given the wondrous epistle reading from Galatians 3 (“But now that faith has come … There is no longer Jew or Greek … But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son … So you are no longer a slave but a child … ”) ..
By Travis Scholl None of the gospels tell us what mountain Jesus climbed with Peter, James, and John to be transfigured. But I’d like to think it was Mount Nebo, despite the fact that the geography makes it virtually impossible. I’d like to think that from its mountaintop, the three disciples could have seen the ..
By Travis J. Scholl Wisdom doesn’t seem to come up much in our biblical preaching, despite the fact that the themes and literature of wisdom play a significant role in the Bible, particularly the Hebrew Bible. And perhaps this narrative of King Solomon’s dream is wisdom’s “source text,” the central narrative of wisdom and how people ..
By Travis J. Scholl “The text is designed so that the memory is a generative event in subsequent generations of Israel, generative of energy and courage for the belated contexts in which God’s people will again face oppression, will again cry out in pain, and will again appeal to the God of all departures.” So says ..
By Travis J. Scholl This week and next week (Proper 17) make up a continuous reading of Mark 7. (Technically, Proper 18 brings the reading of Mark 7 to a close, but there is a thematic and geographic shift that separates it from Propers 16 and 17.) If we were to treat these two readings ..
By Travis J. Scholl Here we are at the first week of July—Fourth of July weekend no less!—and the Gospel of Mark gives us no “summer vacation” from its cruciform sense of faith, discipleship, and the way of Christ. In this text (a continuation of last week’s Gospel text from Mark 5), Jesus has returned ..
By Travis J. Scholl As seems the case every time we encounter a pericope from the Gospel of Mark, we can start by noticing what is not there. The “Palm Sunday” in Mark isn’t triumphal, at least not with the same sense of triumph that we find in the other gospels. But Mark does give ..
By Travis J. Scholl This second Gospel reading in the season of Lent begins with a significant geographic border-crossing. Jesus has left the friendlier confines of Galilee, heading north to Caesarea Philippi. The name itself suggests the heavy hand of the Roman Empire, and the city was a significant site of pagan worship. Jesus has ..
By Travis J. Scholl This is the second time in this liturgical year we have encountered Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism by John. The first was on the Baptism of our Lord, January 11. There, the baptism ends the pericope, preceded by John the baptizer’s ministry in the wilderness. Here, it prefaces Jesus’ own journey ..