Proper 8B (OT 13)

Image: "Christ Raising Jairus' Daughter" wikimedia

 
 

Voice in the Wilderness: Sarah Renfro

Psalmist: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Featured Musician: Dan Holmes

Psalmist: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan


Mark 5:21-43

Initial Thoughts

  • We skipped the story of the Gerasene Demoniac (unless you're Episcopalian)

  • We are returning to Jewish lands after healing a Gentile and being driven out of the Gerasene

  • Be careful with healing stories

    • The woman is healed, but many faithful are not

    • Jairus’ daughter is raised but many children still die

Bible Study

  • Jairus

    • Leader of a synagogue

    • Powerful

    • Most likely wealthy

    • Male

    • Recognizes and has faith in Jesus’ authority over life and death

  • Hemorrhaging Woman

    • Hemorrhaging for 12 years - perpetually unclean (unable to even enter the synagogue)

    • Poor - spent all she had

    • Suffering under care of physicians and her condition is worse

    • Because she had heard about Jesus…

      • Who has heard about Jesus because of you, your church, your actions, your social media...

    • Recognizes and has faith in Jesus ability to heal

  • Jairus and the woman are seeming opposites- but they both believe in Jesus

    • What does this say about God? God is not interested in wealth, power, cultural patriarchy or social order - God cares about binding up the broken

    • Jairus professes his faith outwardly and the woman silently- yet both receive healing.

  • The woman “steals” Jesus power - she takes it without his permission, but she is not rebuked because the healing power and authority of Jesus is of God

    • How might we respond to those in need with our gifts- if all we have is truly from God, then what is it to give someone hope and healing?

  • According to custom- the woman touching Jesus would have made him “unclean”, instead it makes her “clean”- the Power of God turns the powers of social custom on its head

  • Raising the little girl

    • Frederick Buechner’s reflection is quite poignant

      • Funerals allow for the ability to “get up” and move forward.

      • “Celebration of Life” is all well and good, but don’t forget to mourn.

        • “Celebrate the life by all means but face up to the death of that life. Weep all the tears you have in you to weep because whatever may happen next, if anything does, this has happened. Something precious and irreplaceable has come to an end and something in you has come to an end with it. Funerals put a period after the sentence's last word. They close a door. They let you get on with your life.”

      • Jesus reminds us that death is as permanent as sleep.

        • “But if death is the closing of one door, he seems to say, it is the opening of another one. Talitha cumi. He took the little girl's hand, and he told her to get up, and she did. The mother and father were there, Mark says. The neighbors, the friends. It is a scene to conjure with. ...The other use of funerals is to remind us of those two words. When the last hymn has been sung, the benediction given, and the immediate family escorted out a side door, they may be the best we have to make it possible to get up ourselves.”

    • A private healing- Jesus kicks out the scoffers- he is only interested in those who are willing to hope, believe and enter into relationship with him and one another

    • She is as old as the woman has been sick - 12 years

    • Fed - a sign that she is not a ghost but truly alive

Thoughts and Questions

  • Emerson Powery (Working Preacher) asks: “Jesus chooses not to leave people in the conditions in which he finds them.  And he has the power to alter that condition. Do we? Can the Christian community alter the conditions of people's lives?  Can it, too, bring healing into troubled circumstances? Must it not also cross boundaries -- whether they are related to ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation, politics or any other boundaries that divide our society -- and advocate life-giving meaning and change?  May God grant us the courage to do so!”

  • How can we encourage people to profess their faith and live it out both verbally and silently?

  • How do we respond when we are approached and touched by the “unclean”? Do we see it as an invitation into relationship or as a theft of our personal space?

  • Discern who are the unclean in your community. Who are the ones who are too embarrassed, too wounded, or too afraid to ask for healing? How are you welcoming them?

  • Discern the message of God’s hope in this passage when faced with the reality that people suffering from years of disease are not cured and children die and are not raised. Name the complexity- don’t dismiss or explain it away, but discern how else healing might take place:

  • Michael Lindvall tells a story of a good friend with Parkinsons in the last days of his life saying "I have been healed, not of Parkinson's disease, but I have been healed of my fear of Parkinson's disease." Feasting on the Word – Year B, Volume 3.


2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27

Initial Thoughts

  • Mourning over Saul? The guy that wanted to kill him? Seems strange.

Bible Study

  • Previously on the Bible: David killed Goliath. Now all the sudden Saul is dead and, who is this Jonathan?

    • 18:1 “As soon as David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan’s life became bounded up with David’s life, and Jonathan cared about David as much as he cared about himself.”

    • 18:8-9 “Saul burned with anger. This song annoyed him. ‘They’ve credited David with tens of thousands,’ he said ‘but only credit me for thousands.’ What’s next for him? the kingdom itself?’ So Saul kept a close eye on David from that point on.”

    • 18:29 “When Saul knew for certain that the Lord was with David [after he had delivered to him 100 Philistine foreskins] and that his daughter Michal loved him, then Saul was even more afraid of David. Saul was David’s enemy for the rest of his life.”

    • Continued in-fighting between David and Saul. Sometimes together, sometimes not. David spares Saul twice. All the while there are Philistines to reckon with. Philistines overrun Israel’s army, kill three of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan. Surround and wound Saul, who then falls on his own sword to avoid imprisonment and torture.

  • The song itself:

    • Look how the mighty warriors have fallen (repeated throughout the song)

      • The fact that they are mighty warriors is lost unless you tell more of the 1 Samuel story.

    • Don’t let Philistines gloat.

      • They may have been rivals, but their common enemy remained the Philistines.

      • Practical danger in allowing the Philistines to know, for they could mount a larger attack if they knew the king and his heirs were all dead.

    • Creation mourns

      • The place where they died would be a place of mourning.

      • Battlefield graves. Hallowed grounds like Gettysburg, sites of massacres like Wounded Knee.

    • Jonathan and Saul’s relationship recalled, romanticized.

      • There were times when they were enemies.

      • Jonathan had ceded his birthright to David (18:4) and went back and forth between supporting David and Saul.

      • They in fact, were not united in life, but they did die on the same battlefield as allies.

    • Professional mourners

    • Grief over Jonathan in particular

      • Relationship between Jonathan and David is much debated.Was their relationship a covenantal homosexual union?  This article examines some of the textual evidence behind it. It makes a strong circumstantial case.

      • Even if not a sexual relationship, surely a friendship and a loving relationship.

      • Devotion Jonathan showed to David was against his own self-interest as a potential heir to Saul’s throne.

    • Look how the mighty warriors have fallen. Look how the weapons of war have been destroyed.

      • Repetition of ‘mighty warriors’ makes it start to feel sarcastic. There is a feeling of bitterness over the futility of war. “War, What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!”

      • “The strength of the refrain moves beyond a recognition of the tragedy of the deaths of Israel’s king and his son to a statement concerning the consummate sadness of war itself? (James Newsome, Texts for Preaching, Year B, p. 403)

Thoughts

  • Sunday after Father’s Day: How and why do we grieve over abusive parents? Often a child (even adult child) will grieve for a parent (or spouse) who was never supportive, never affectionate. There is grief, and often guilt, over the relationship that never really existed. There is a sense of lost opportunity, because often when we grieve over someone like this, we grieve over the ‘idea’ of the person more than the actual person. Often romanticize the dead, and forget the abusive/unloving times. Then the memories come, and there is guilt over thinking ill of the dead. This is all a complicated, messy, emotional experience. This is where we may find grace in David’s song. It is okay to grieve over one whom you wished you could have loved,

  • Relationship between Jonathan and David is clearly a deep, intimate one. Was it a homosexual relationship? Preaching this is a highly contextual choice. Some might take great comfort in seeing this relationship lifted up. Some would have great difficulty. In some contexts, letting the words speak for themselves might be the best approach “I grieve for you, my brother Jonathan. You were so dear to me. Your love was more amazing to me than the love of women.”


 

2 Corinthians 8:7-15

Initial Thoughts

  • Year Round Stewardship

  • Paul’s Stewardship pitch for “the poor among the saints at Jerusalem”

Bible Study

  • Grace - “generous act” generous undertaking”

  • Focus on the giver

  • Divine economy

    • God’s saving act of grace through Jesus Christ

    • Economic model for communities of faith

  • Dynamic of giving

    • Must be willing to give (v.10)

    • Must honor a promise and pledge (v.11)

    • Must be able to honor the pledge (v.12)

    • Don’t “give till it hurts” (v.13) , but give what you can out of your joyful abundance and gratitude

  • Not about obligation about giving out of joy

  • Not about need of those receiving but the joy of those giving

  • Balance - give out of blessing and gratitude for what you have received

    • Abundance - there is enough for all

    • Scarcity - there is never enough

  • Final quote from Exodus 16:18 talking about Manna from heaven

    • John Calvin writes, "such an equality that nobody starves and nobody hordes his abundance at another's expense." Calvin's Commentaries, ed. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 10:114.

Thoughts and Questions

  • Often overlooked, but great passage on stewardship boiled down the main points:

    • Give because you want to give- be joyful in your giving - the desire of willfully given gift is as important as the gift itself

    • Don’t worry about losing your wealth- Jesus lost his wealth for your sake

    • The idea is not to become poor so others can be rich, but that all would equally have enough - give as we hope to receive.


THANK YOU FOR LISTENING AND GET IN TOUCH:

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com,@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.