Proper 11B (OT 16)


Voice in the Wilderness: Chris Strickland

Psalmist: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Featured Musician:The Steel Wheels

Psalmist: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

Initial Thoughts

  • Lectionary Shenanigans:

    • 35-44 Jesus feeds the five thousand

    • 45-52 Jesus walks on water.

    • Neither feeding miracle in Mark is told in the lectionary (Mark 8:1-10)

    • Matthew version (14:13-21) is told in Year A

    • Luke version of feeding the multitudes is not in lectionary

    • Next week: John 6:1-21 is the feeding of the multitudes and walking on water.

      • It is as if the lectionary chose this passage as an introduction to John 6.

      • They treat John 6 as an extrapolation of Mark 6.

      • We have 5 weeks on John 6 and Jesus as the Bread of Life

      • When we get back to Mark on the last Sunday of August, we pick up with 7:1

    • What we have left is a pretty stripped down story

Bible Study

  • Summary of what we have left:

    • 30-34: Apostles return to Jesus and report on their adventures. While they are trying to find some solitude, people see and recognize Jesus, and crowds form in spite of their effort to get some rest (and possibly mourn the death of John the Baptist).

    • 53-56: Jesus and disciples land in Gennesaret (after heading toward Bethsaida). People immediately recognize him again, and bring people from all around to touch his cloak (remember 5:21, the woman that just touched his cloak) and be healed.

  • “Many were coming and going”

    • Taking time to eat together is central to following Jesus

    • Table sharing marks Jesus’ ministry (feeding the 5 thousand), his death (last Supper), his resurrection (Emmaus and John 21) and his church (Acts 2:42-47)

    • How often do we make time to eat together as the family of God (how often do we even make time to eat together with our family)?

    • In the end they are not kept from eating, but instead expand the table to include thousands more

  • “And he had compassion on them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd” (v. 34).

    • The saying

      • What Moses says when appointing Joshua to lead the people out of the wilderness (Number 27:17)

      • Reminiscent of Ezekiel foretelling the coming of a good shepherd

      • Most likely a saying which had been circulated about Jesus (appears here and in Matthew in a different context)

    • He had already showed compassion to the apostles themselves. They returned from their journey, and he is providing rest for them.

    • He demonstrated that he was a good shepherd by having compassion and providing rest for them.

      • Then he saw the people, in need of a shepherd, and had compassion once again.

      • Tired or not- the need of the people is most important

      • Compassion dictates Jesus’ life and ministry both to his disciples and to others

    • A clearly political reference to a people without a leader.

    • Stands in stark contrast to Hebrew Bible reading for this whole season - which is about the Shepherd boy turned King.

  • Compassion

    • Literally means “with suffering”

  • When the boat landed in Gennesaret, the people “recognized him immediately.”

    • They were not headed to Gennesaret but to Bethsaida - not where they wanted to go, but where they were needed - you may not be where you envision,but you may be right where God needs you (individually or as a church)

    • This is in direct contrast to the disciples, who were confused by his power and presence, but this is lost in the reading as it stands edited by the lectionary.

    • What this passage reveals, on its own, is that the people were hungry - desperate for what Jesus offered. Even if they only recognized a practical need.

Thoughts and Questions

  • How is compassion a part of your ministry? How is compassion a part of the life of the church? Are programs and ministries driven by compassion? Is there a deeply-felt feeling-with? Or is it done in hopes of “getting people in the church.”? These things are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but if the goal is to “get people in the church,” instead of to care for a need of a people, then we are missing the mark (sin?).

  • Jesus does not question their motives. He does not spiritualize his help. He does not find out if they deserve his help. He just has compassion

  • So do we take time for sabbath and spiritual retreat or do we set aside spiritual retreat for the needs of the community? Yes. We must be attentive to the workings of God in ourselves, in our community and in the world. There is no “one size fit all”, set-in-stone rule for ministry- it must be guided by compassion.

  • The boat landed in Gennesaret, even though in v 45 it says that they were headed for Bethsaida. In the meantime, there is a storm (upon which Jesus walks). After the storm, they end up in a different town about 5 miles away on the north shore of Galilee. The storm, upon which Jesus so famously walked, and which he calmed, still blew them off course. They landed in a city they were not trying to reach, and yet when they get there they simply drop anchor and start doing ministry. And his ministry was everywhere - villages, cities, or farming communities.

2 Samuel 7:1-14a

Initial Thoughts

  • Same reading from Advent 4B

Bible Study

  • Building

    • “...the King was settled in his house:”- Does God ever settle?- perhaps the rest of the story pinges on this first verse. Humans settle, but God doesn’t settle.

    • David’s reflection on the homelessness of God comes from a good place, but he comes to the wrong conclusion.

    • Confines God who cannot be confined (not by a building or a name)

    • Limits God to one place

    • Patricia Tull “It will not be David who establishes God, but God who establishes David”

  • Movement

    • God is constantly moving in this text (v. 6, 7, 8, 9)

    • Life with God is a journey- not a settling in

    • Jesus is also homeless and constantly on the move and moving others with him

    • God moves with us through life- through the valleys and the mountaintops

  • But there is still a temple v.10-14

    • God provides for God’s people. God provides a house. God provides safety. God provides security. Any house for God is given out of thanksgiving, not to define who God is.

    • Israel will be “planted” it is a living, growing and thriving community- not a set building

  • Everlasting Kingship (v. 13)

    • Clearly not true - this does not happen- so what does it mean?

    • Perhaps it is about God dwelling with God’s people- when a King is no longer needed (or wanted)

    • Much is made of Jesus being of the lineage of David and Jesus teaches more about about the Kingdom of God than anything else. Perhaps this is God


  • What does it mean that God is homeless and chooses to remain homeless? How does that change how we see our buildings and how we view our homeless brothers and sisters?

    • see Luke 9:58

  • Explore what homes mean to people: security, safety, financial stability - what does ti mean that God rejects having a home/building?

  • If Jesus is Emmanuel, “God with us”, and we are the body of Christ, then God dwells within us (Ezekiel 27:37). How do highlight and celebrate that?

  • God did not demand a temple, not does God ask us to build churches, denominations or institutions. Do these religious settings help share the Good News of God in Christ or are they ways for us to control and confine God’s transcendence?

Ephesians 2:11-22

Initial Thoughts

  • This pairs very well with the Old Testament text.

    • Just as David unites the Kingdoms, the writer of Ephesians sees Jesus as the uniter of all people.

    • There is something new in Christ that is not destroying what has come before, but is opening up a wider umbrella of God’s love.

    • Uses Temple language - a good reading with the 2 Samuel text. No longer about a house built with human hands. It is no longer about a building that can keep people in or out. Instead, the household of God is on the foundation of the apostles themselves, with Christ as the cornerstone.

    • The household of God is no longer walls. It is people, and all are invited in.

Bible Study

  • Literary context

    • Skips some good stuff. Ephesians 2:1-10 is worth reading.

      • Eph 2:8-10: “You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.”

    • This is the set up for the passage that begins, “So remember.” What comes before the “So” is grace.

    • Grace, so remember that once you were Gentiles…

      • Reminiscent of Torah language:

        • Exodus 22:21 “Don’t mistreat or oppress an immigrant, because you were once immigrants in the land of Egypt.”

        • Leviticus 19:34 “Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.”

        • Deuteronomy 10:19 “You must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt.”

      • Remember the grace you were given so that you may extend it to others.

  • Differences v. 11-12. Paul begins this by showing the difference between life before Christ and after. Since Grace is the turning point, Paul reminds them of life before Grace.

    • Many of Paul’s first converts were those who were Gentiles but sympathetic to Judaism. They were “aliens in the nation of Israel.”

    • Even as the good news spread to Gentiles, they had no knowledge of the covenant God had with the people.

    • They had no hope and no God.

    • Gentiles and Jews were separated by a chasm that was closed by Jesus’ willingness to die for all.

  • Union v. 13-18

    • Jews and Gentiles are made into one group.

    • Break down barriers that divide us.

    • Christ’s death was so that peace could be made among people. There is no reason to be divided, because we are all equally accepted by God.

  • New Humanity v. 19-22

    • Access to the Father through Christ and the Spirit.

    • Built on one foundation - Christ

    • Fellow citizens - recall Torah language

    • Belong to God’s household

    • Christ is building you into a place where God lives through he Spirit.

Thoughts and Questions

  • This is Sanctifying Grace. No longer a Temple needed, a one-stop place to connect to God. Instead, a relationship with God is being built. “Christ is building you…” There is union, but there is also growth.

  • You were given grace, now show it to others. Christ has given you a path to connect to God, don’t keep it from others. Key to this new life is remembering those who have gone before. Remember your grace. Remember grace offered by others. Through remembering, we may move forward.

  • Church growth is not measured here by statistics. We grow the church only in so much as we grow peace. If a church is growing in numbers, but alienating the surrounding communities of faith, is that “growing the Church.”


Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (,@pomopsalmist). Thank you to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Sunday Morning”,"Real Ride"and“Summertime”) and Bryan Odeen for our closing music.