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Lectionary Notes for Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year B


Readings for Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, 8/12/12:
2 Samuel 18:5-9, 31-33, Psalm 130, Ephesians 4:25-5:2, John 6:35, 41-51

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 31-33
  • Kings often had to deal with power struggles from their own children, especially when multiple sons were competing for power. Can you imagine the heartbreak of your own child out to get you?
  • Even still, David's love for Absalom is evident throughout the text. He wants Absalom to be spared. Torn between what is best for his kingdom, and what is best for him and for his child. Conflict of interest, to say the least.
  • "me instead of you" - that's deep love, when we would put ourselves in harm's way in place of someone else. An ongoing theme in our Christian story, no? In God's story with us?
  • The way Absalom is killed is sad, horrible, and almost comic-book like, I hate to say. Seems like a cartoon death. 
Psalm 130:
  • This psalm was just in the lectionary last month. Kind of soon for a repeat, no?
  • A favorite Psalm. My favorite musical setting of this Psalm is the John Rutter Requiem, performed occasionally by my childhood-church.
  • Out of the depths - what are the depths from which you call to God? Do you remember to call to God from your lowest low?
  • This psalm shows a great faith and hope in God's grace and forgiving mercy, unlike some psalms that are more bent on vengeance: "If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord , who could stand?" It is a nice change.
  • wait, wait, wait the psalmist says. I've read statistics before about how many years of our life we spending waiting in line for things. How much of your life do you spend waiting on God? Are you more patient about waiting in line for concert tickets than you are about waiting for God? 
  • Relate this Psalm to the text from 2 Samuel. They are both laments. Do you lament to God?
Ephesians 4:25-5:2:
  • "members of one another." I like this imagery. Not just members of the body of Christ, but members, then, of one another. That's deep connectedness, and we should treat it with care.
  • "do not let the sun go down on your anger" - an oft-quoted and little-heeded phrase.
  • "tender-hearted" - that's a cleaned up way of saying "with healthy bowels," which is the literal translation of eusplanchnos, but it has the meaning of compassionate, so I guess tender-hearted sounds a little prettier!
  • "be imitators of God, as beloved children" - Indeed, children are the best at imitating behavior, aren't they? We're called to do as good a job in imitating God.
John 6:35, 41-51:
  • This text continues with week three of 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!
  • never hunger, never thirst. For people who have actually experienced real hunger, these images must have been particularly powerful.
  • "is this not Jesus?" The crowds question Jesus' authority and credibility, which is a good way to undermine someone who is saying what you don't want to hear. We do this today in politics, in the church, in our families - wherever someone is speaking truth we don't like!
  • "unless drawn by the Father" - very process-theology language - being lured to God.

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