Wisdom Commentary and the Evolution of the Period Sermon

Wisdom Commentaries can be found at Liturgical Press

I have only used the Psalms and Mark commentaries from this series but I’ve enjoyed them so much I hope to add more. This series looks at texts from feminist perspectives (multiple, not just one voice). If you watch the video on the link above, the editor of the series Barbara E. Reid, explains this in more detail.

The Period Sermon is evolving, mostly because I’m not fond of the ones I wrote before The Period Sermon in 2018, and honestly, I don’t love this one either. Without meaning too, I made it seem like the Old Testament texts were not as important as new Testament ones. There were other harmful notions about purity in there too that I didn’t realize until later. I hate to be wrong, and I was definitely wrong in my interpretation of the Leviticus I tied to the new testament text. Yuck. I tried to move away from that when I wrote Another Period Sermon in September of 2020. In that sermon I was trying to capture what the Pittsburgh Chapter of Days for Girls was and how that tied in with my faith (and hopefully the faith of those listening) but casting myself (and my team/congregation) in the role of the disciples. I still like this sermon a lot, but it really is more suited to telling the DfG Pittsburgh Chapter story about our work and sense of mission than it is exegesis of the text. So, oops again.

I purchased the Wisdom Commentary on Mark because we are doing a sermon series on Mark at Third Church, and because the last text I was assigned was the same text I’ve used for the Period Sermon and I wanted to get a new perspective. I didn’t mention DfG much in this sermon… you know I couldn’t leave it out completely… but tried to look at what the text itself was saying. What are you going to do with that power? was the sermon that emerged from my deep dive into the Wisdom Commentary book on Mark which provided me with five different interpretations of Mark 5:21-43. In the discussion and evaluation of each of those perspectives I was able to see some of the pitfalls I had fallen into with other versions of the period sermon. Those perspectives in the Wisdom Commentary are: 1. Purity Concerns; 2. Public and Private Space? Community Reintegration; 3. Displays of Faith; 4. An Allegorical or Representative Societal/Imperial Reading: The Importance of Twelve; and 5. Merciful Hegemonic Power.

All of the above to say, I recommend this series. And that sometimes I am wrong in my interpretation of scripture, but I’m learning and trying to be honest about when I find myself in the wrong. Hopefully, this post is the next right thing in the evolution of the period sermon.

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