Readings for Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, 7/29/12:2 Samuel 11:1-15, Psalm 14, Ephesians 3:14-21, John 6:1-21
2 Samuel 11:1-15:
- Uh-oh. Things were going so well. Then David saw Bathsheba. Today we get part one of this story of temptation and sin. What tempts you? When have you given into temptation? What do you think makes you take that 'plunge' into committing a sin you know you shouldn't?
- Poor Uriah is the big loser all around in all of this. Cheated on, by the king. Tricked. Murdered.
- No where in the story when David is having Uriah set up does someone question his intention/authority. No doubt, people would fear questioning the king. Still, wasn't their someone who could step in and ask David what he was thinking? Could you question authority in a way that would bring risk to yourself?
- "Fools say in their hearts, 'There is no God.' Chris Haslam, my first stop for quality exegesis, says that this verse doesn't indicate atheism for the fools, but those who doubt that God actually cares about human affairs and behaviors. A lot of fools today, eh?
- "There is not one who does good, no, not one." This statement is perhaps exaggerated, or, if not, at least extreme, unless only in the sense that we are all sinners. But it reminds me of the quote from Augustine: "If we have understood, than what we have understood is not God." Likewise, we are not good, not even one of us, because God is good. If God is good, we are only a shadow of that...
- I wonder about the context of this psalm - the psalmist seems to have something very specific in mind - specific folks upon whom the psalmist wants God's 'terror' poured.
- "rooted and grounded in love" Great imagery. Roots run deep underground, and are often invisible above the earth, except in bits. And yet, though they often look fragile, compared to the thing they give root to, they are essential for the livelihood of the plant/tree. What are your roots made of and grounded in?
- "breadth and length, and height and depth" - just more great imagery.
- "surpasses knowledge" - In today's age, it is hard for us to deal with things that surpass knowledge. I know personally I like to have all the answers to everything. Can we accept that God's love for us is so great that we truly can't 'get it' all?
- This text begins a month-long series of texts from John 6 that all talk about Jesus and bread and feeding and bread of life and living water, etc., etc. The imagery is rich and meaningful and can communicate a great deal. On the flip side, I remember preaching on these texts three years ago when I was just starting at my first appointment, and wondering if I would ever get to talk about something other than bread!
- "he said this to" - I always worry when the gospel writers try to explain why Jesus said something. Do they really know, or are they giving us their own guesses?
- Feeding so many, by magical multiplication or by a generous stirring of hearts of the crowds is truly a miracle, given that so many go without.
- "But what are they among so many people?" How often, like Peter, do we look at what we've got and see only "not enough" to be worthwhile? We, in our abundant society, live like we have a culture of scarcity.
- The people follow Jesus wherever he goes. Today, it seems only movie stars have such command of a crowd, and our attention. Who today are you willing to follow? Really?
- "do not be afraid." A phrase so often communicated to us by God through the scriptures. We need these words.