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Jun 05

2nd Sunday after Pentecost [Ordinary 10B] (Year B)

1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15)
  • The NRSV is a good translation, but I also really like the Common English Bible.
  • The people of Israel wanted a king – and the Lord told them, “Be careful what you wish for…”  It is all too easy to see what others have and assume that it is exactly what we need.  The people saw that other nations had kings, and they wanted to have one for themselves.  Unfortunately, the people failed to understand that they already had a King (a better one who was/is very different from the one described in the passage) - they had God.
  • Do we want a “king” like our spiritual ancestors did?  Are we reluctant to accept Christ as our true king, or are we ready?
  • Royal garments and props will work well as you decorate your worship space this week.  Most party supply stores have plastic crowns that you can use, as well as things like royal robes and a scepter.
Psalm 138
  • When is the last time that you simply said “thank you” to God?  I know that we all say things in worship from week to week, and many folks will thank God for the food we eat or the fact that we passed a major test or landed that big account at the office… but do we ever really just stop and say thank you?  That’s what the Psalmist does in this passage.
  • The Lord is above everything and everyone - and yet, God looks on the lowest of the low, God helps the weakest of the weak, and God protects those who are in need.  God turns the power structures of the world upside-down!
  • Want to create an atmosphere of thankfulness and gratitude?  Why not create a “wall of thanks” or a “chain of gratitude” in your worship space?
    • Wall of Thanks:  Designate a large, blank wall as your “Wall of Thanks”.  Invite everyone to write/draw what they are most thankful for that day on strips of paper, and tack the papers to the wall.  Since it is now “Ordinary Time”, you may want to use paper in various shades of green.  Use tape or tacks to affix the papers to the wall.  Or, if you are concerned with damaging a wall in your worship space, post an extra-large sheet of craft paper or a jumbo-sized corkboard to use as the “wall”.  Provide slips of paper and pens/markers for folks to add their notes of thanks.  (If you use an extra-large sheet of craft paper, you could simply write your notes of thanks directly onto the paper – just make sure that your markers/pens won’t bleed through the paper and mark the wall!)
    • Chain of Gratitude:  Create a paper chain using strips of paper (I suggest various shades of green, in honor of Ordinary Time).  Prior to linking the papers, invite people to write/draw what they are most thankful for that day.  Use tape or staples to close each link in the chain.  You can display the chain in the worship space throughout the entire season.  How long of a chain can you create?
    • If you create a Wall of Thanks or a Chain of Gratitude, let me know – and send us a picture!
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
  • While the NRSV is nice, I really do like the Common English Bible for this passage.
  • I also really like Eugene Peterson’s The Message for this particular text.  Peterson’s version continues through verse 5 of chapter 5, so you would want to make note of that in your bulletin in you use this version.  Or, you can simply stop the reading after the phrase “relocate our “tents” again” (which seems to correspond well with verse 1).
  • While it is commonly understood that Paul is speaking metaphorically about our bodies, I think that there is much for us to consider about our earthly “buildings” as well.  What would happen if we let go of the death-grip that so many of us have on our church buildings?  What would/could our ministries look like if we thought “outside the building”?
  • Yes, you could assemble a tent inside your worship space, but I’m not sure that it would really help make Paul’s point that God has something so much better for us…
Mark 3:20-35
  • I hate to sound like a broken record, but… I really like the Common English Bible translation for this text.
  • We must be careful if we decide to judge the presence or non-presence of the Spirit in the lives of others.  If someone is truly filled with the Holy Spirit, and we claim that they aren’t…God doesn’t look on that judgment with any favor.
  • Who are your spiritual mothers, sisters, and brothers?

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