Sermon preached at Gorbals Parish Church on Sunday 13th June, third Sunday after Pentecost.
When I was growing up I loved to watch films about the life of Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. Two of my favourites were Fiddler on the Roof and Yentl. “Fiddler on the roof” was the more famous of the two, but when I read today’s passage I immediately thought about Yentl, starring Barbra Streisand and Mandy Patinkin. Yentl is a story of a rabbi’s daughter who was very unusual amongst other girls in the village. She wasn’t interested in cooking or sewing, and she wasn’t looking to get married like all the other girls. Yentl wanted to study the law of Moses, and the Talmud, which is a series of commentaries on the law.
But that was a problem in 1904, because women were not allowed to study the Talmud. The film begins in a Jewish market place, where a fish trader entices Yentl to buy a fish that is ‘so beautiful, it will cook itself’. Yentl needed all the help she could get, so she agrees to buy the fish, even if she’s not even looking at it. Her eyes are drawn to a book trader driving his cart through the market place yelling: “Picture books for women, sacred books for men! Picture books for women, sacred books for men!”
Sermon preached at Gorbals Parish Church, March 28th 2010 on Palm Sunday
While I was growing up in Romania I was taught to always appreciate the heroes from our past. Our history teachers in school made sure we knew all these heroes and what they had accomplished. Almost all of them, of course, were military geniuses who defeated ridiculously large armies with very few men. One such hero was a prince called Michael the Brave. At the end of the sixteen century he was the first who united the three provinces that make up modern day Romania: Valachia, Transylvania and Moldavia.
In 1599 he made his triumphant entrance in the fortified city of Alba Iulia, announcing his military victory over the prince of Transylvania. I still remember the movie made about Michael the Brave, marching into the city all dressed in white, riding, what else, a white horse. He was going to be the new King over Transylvania, and one year later over Moldavia as well, uniting the three provinces for the first time in our history. He was a military hero, and the movie went a long way to portray the entrance in Alba Iulia as a triumphant display of military power, as he was escorted by his victorious army.
This is a very interesting and provocative discussion with Brandon Scott, a New Testament scholar, former Roman Catholic. He has a very interesting perspective on the Constantinian hijacking of Christianity, with its departure from Jesus to an imperialist structure. And yet…