June 2, 2024

TIME AFTER PENTECOST

PSALM 81:1-10; 2 CORINTHIANS 4:5-12; MARK 2:23-3:6

Deuteronomy makes clear that sabbath-keeping is meant for the welfare of all. God delivered the Israelites out of slavery, so they should observe this freedom with a day of rest.  No one should work seven days a week; even slaves and foreigners should be able to rest.  Yet human beings can turn even the most liberating religious practice into a life-destroying rule.  Jesus does not reject sabbath-keeping; but defends its original life – enhancing meaning.  Our worship and our religious way of life are to lead to restoration: the hungry being fed and the sick being healed.

June 9, 2024 

TIME AFTER PENTECOST

GENESIS 3:8-15; PSALM 130; 2 CORINTHIANS 4:13-5:1; MARK 3:20-35

A house divided against itself cannot stand.  Jesus makes this observation in light of charges that he is possessed.  He is possessed, not be a demon; but by the Holy Spirit.  We who have received the Holy Spirit through baptism have been joined to Christ’s death and resurrection and knit together in the body of Christ.  Those with whom we sing and pray this day are Jesus’ family.  With them we go forth in peace to do the will of God.

June 16, 2024 

TIME AFTER PENTECOST

EZEKIEL 17:22-24; PSALM 92:1-4, 12-15; 2 CORINTHIANS 5:6-10[11-13] 14-17; MARK 4:26-34

The mustard seed becomes a great shrub that shelters the birds, recalling ancient images of the tree of life.  We’d expect a cedar or a sequoia, but Jesus finds the power of God better imaged in a tiny, no-account seed.  It’s not the way we expect divine activity to look.  Yet the tree of life is here, in the cross around which we gather, the tree into which we are grafted through baptism, the true vine that nourishes us with its fruit in the cup we share.  It may not appear all that impressive, but while nobody’s looking it grows with a power beyond our understanding.

June 23, 2024 

TIME AFTER PENTECOST

JOB 38:1-11; PSALM 107:1-3, 23-32; 2 CORINTHIANS 6:1-13; MARK 4:35-41

Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation! Now we are in the storm, the boat almost swamped; but Jesus is here now, and when we call him, he will calm the storm.  Even the wind and waves listen to him as they would their creator.  We also listen to him and are called to believe in the power of God’s word in him, a power greater than all that we fear.

June 30, 2024

TIME AFTER PENTECOST

LAMENATIONS 3:22-23; PSALM 30; 2 CORINTHIANS 8:7-15; MARK 5:21-43

A woman finds healing by touching Jesus’ cloak, and a girl is restored to life when he takes her by the hand.  In both cases a boundary is crossed: in Jesus’ time the hemorrhaging woman was considered ritually unclean, polluting others by her touch, and anyone who touched a corpse also became unclean.  In Mark’s gospel Jesus breaks down barriers, from his first meal at a tax collector’s house to his last breath on the cross as the temple curtain is torn in two.  We dare to touch Jesus in our “uncleanness” and to live as a community that defines no one as an outsider.