Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | July 7, 2017

Lectionary Reflection: The Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

Blog|Peter Grace

Zechariah 9:9-12; Psalm 145:8-15; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Thinking of God, we are faced with the difficulty of trying to understand timeless reality with the language of time. This is a paradox in itself, comprehensible only in the language of paradox, which is the language that binds together our readings for today.

With the children in the marketplace in Matthew’s gospel, we lament that God does not seem to be saying what we want to hear. We know what Paul means when he agonizes over his mind pointing him in one direction while his body walks the other way. And the way out? Zechariah’s conquering God is humble and gentle, prefiguring Jesus, a welcoming Savior powerful enough to give us rest yet gentle and humble in heart, who gives us the yoke of ease and the burden of lightness.

Paradox upon paradox — even love, our greatest metaphor for God. All the saints and sages of our tradition would agree with Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata” when she sings of love as croce e delizia: cross and delight. And Christ-denying Peter is the gatekeeper of Paradise.

May we have the grace and lightness of heart to take these seeming contradictions for what they are, guideposts rather than stumbling blocks. Where are your stumbling blocks? Try turning them into guideposts, and let the easy yoke of Christ lighten your load.

Peter Grace is a member of the cathedral congregation since 2010 and a 2014 graduate of the Education for Ministry program. He is currently a co-facilitator of the Thursday Bible study and Sunday 4:30 p.m. book study groups.

The featured image is of St. Paul’s Church, San Rafael from “Looking Forward/Looking Back: Thirty Churches of the Episcopal Diocese of California” by Bill Van Loo.

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