Friday, July 03, 2015

Lectionary Notes for Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B (Proper 9, Ordinary 14)

Readings for Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, 7/5/15:
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10, Psalm 48, 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10:
  • "bone and flesh" - it must have given David great comfort to hear these words of commitment from the tribes, even after they had served under Saul. We don't always have such great success at transitioning leadership in the church, do we? Of course, with Saul's death, this transition wasn't exactly smooth either...
  • In verse 2, the people say it was David who "led out Israel and brought it in" - tasks of a shepherd. This imagery sticks with David throughout his life - it is how he views God (Psalm 23) and how God has called him to be.
  • "30 years old" - Wow. At 27 as I write this, I can't imagine being King of such a messed up country at 30. Impressive.
Psalm 48:
  • This psalm focuses mostly on the beauty of Jerusalem, the holy place, and Mount Zion, a holy and loved place in Jerusalem. Perhaps the biblical equivalent of "America the Beautiful," which happens to be my favorite patriotic song - focusing on what we love about our homeland and our thankfulness for it, as opposed to focusing on our superiority over others.
  • Still, perhaps this psalm is a little "Star-Spangled Banner" - we do get a bit of enemy talk in here (what is a psalm without it, right?)
  • What's your favorite holy place? What's your favorite convergence of home and God?
2 Corinthians 12:2-10:
  • "caught up to the third heaven" - Paul clearly has a different understanding of cosmology than do we today - check out Chris Haslam's notes on the topic.
  • "thorn in the flesh" - I think we can all relate to Paul here, even if we'll never know exactly what Paul considered his "thorn in the flesh." We all know our thorn or thorns. What's yours? How do you deal with it?
  • "boast" - Someday I have to count the number of times Paul uses the word 'boast' and the number of times he is writing about how he's really not boasting!
  • "whenever I am weak, then I am strong" - a very Jesus-like paradoxical statement
Mark 6:1-13:
  • Jesus' experience of going home and finding people less-than-welcoming is not unusual. Things are never the same when you leave and go back again, are they?
  • The disciples here make an initial transition to apostles - ones sent. Christopher Moore, in his hilarious and poignant Lamb, has this conversation between Joshua (Jesus) and his disciples: “Okay, who wants to be an apostle?” “I do, I do,” said Nathaniel. “What’s an apostle?” “That’s a guy who makes drugs,” I said. “Me, me,” said Nathaniel. “I want to make drugs.” “I’ll try that,” said John. “That’s an apothecary,” said Matthew . . . “Apostle means ‘to send off.’” . . . “That’s right,” said Joshua, “messengers. You’ll be sent off to spread the message that the kingdom has come.” “Isn’t that what we’re doing now?” asked Peter. “No, now you’re disciples, but I want to appoint apostles who will take the Word into the land . . . I will give you power to heal, and power over devils. You’ll be like me, only in a different outfit. You’ll take nothing with you except your clothes. You’ll live only off the charity of those you preach to. You’ll be on your own, like sheep among wolves. People will persecute you and spit on you, and maybe beat you, and if that happens, well, it happens. Shake of the dust and move on. Now, who’s with me?” And there was a roaring silence among the disciples . . . [so] Joshua stood up and just counted them off . . . You’re the apostles. Now get out there and apostilize.” And they all looked at each other. “Spread the good news, the son of man is here! The kingdom is coming. Go! Go! Go!” They got up and sort of milled around . . . Thus were the twelve appointed to their sacred mission.”
  • Think of how detailed our preparations for traveling are these days. Itineraries and packing and repacking and maps and GPS - could you go out as unprepared as Jesus sent the disciples? And yet, they do it, prepared in the ways that count, as much as they can be.
  • How prepared can you really be, anyway? Before actually starting my first day as a pastor, I still felt unprepared. Trained, equipped - but nothing can totally prepare you for the real thing. You just have to do it. So it is with being sent by Jesus. We just have to do it.
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