Bishop's Lectionary Reflection
Proper 7, Year B
June 20, 2021
1 Samuel 17: 32-49
Israel is beset by war. The warriors are especially terrorized by a notorious rather large Philistine warrior. Many of us know him as “Goliath” from the famous story of “David and Goliath.” None of the Hebrew warriors want to answer Goliath’s challenge to fight…except for David who really isn’t even a warrior. He is there to visit and bring provisions to his brothers who are fighting. He has heard that all are quaking in the presence of this Philistine warrior and he offers to go and fight. He is a mere boy, however. But David has some unusual wisdom that is beyond his years of life. He sees how his life experiences can assist him in confronting the current challenges facing him and the other Israelite warriors. He is an experienced shepherd who has rescued his sheep many times (sometimes with his bare hands) from the mouths of lions and bears. He figures this warrior is no more terrifying or dangerous than that. He goes to King Saul and offers to do battle. Saul tries to outfit David with his own battle gear, but David is overwhelmed by the size of it and sheds it, preferring to confront the Philistine warrior seriously under-armed and under-protected. In so doing, David demonstrates his core value of authenticity – he must be who he is and live his life as God has made him. He cannot wear other peoples’ clothing. The story ends with David’s success – he defends Israel from Goliath – the lion-bear which threatens the flock of Israel.
As you look back over your life, can you see how the experiences you have lived through have prepared you for the challenges which face you today? All that you confront is no worse than what you have already endured. God has prepared you for today, even if today seems overwhelming. How do you live out your own core authenticity? How do you clothe yourself as God has made you and not as someone else would have you to be?
When we feel that the world is in the control of those who intend harm, this portion of Psalm 9 is a good reminder that their reign of uncertainty and death is not eternal. “The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed a refuge in time of trouble.” While God does not need to be reminded that he is known by His acts of justice, sometimes we are helped by reminding Him. Psalm 9 is a firm reminder that God’s justice will have the last word.
As we contemplate the chaos that confronts our world, let us remind God (and ourselves) that His strength sustains us, and that His righteous word will be the last word spoken.
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
In this second letter to the Church at Corinth, Paul seems himself and those who are with him as ambassadors for Christ. He works with Christ to bring the message of salvation and reconciliation. This is a diplomatic endeavor. The work is happening in Kairos – God’s time – the appointed time for God’s purposes to be fulfilled. “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Paul proclaims now as the acceptable time and bids the people to hear and receive the message.
As human beings, we live in chronos, that linear passage of time from start to finish. But God is not bound by chronos. His time is Kairos, which is a multi-dimensional passage of time. His message and purposes are happening NOW! Can you connect with that excitement?
“…the waves beat into the boat so that the boat was almost swamped.” How often does it seem as if our boats are pummeled and swamped and ready to sink? The disciples were overwhelmed by the storm. They could not control it and they could not manage it. They were out of control…powerless. “But he (Jesus) was on the stern, asleep on the cushion.” As the world swirled out of control, the Messiah dozed. As our own boats are rocked, does it sometimes seem as if Jesus is asleep, nowhere to be seen? “Peace, be still!” His words command and overcome all the chaos. How can we allow Him to speak this word of peace into our own chaos? “Who is this, then, that even the wind and sea obey him?” Who is this? He happens to be the Creator of that which he commands into submission. This very action of taming wind and sea point to Jesus’s identity as a person of the Trinity – one who was there when the entire world was created. He is the very author of the wind and sea.
We sometimes forget that we are not alone when life is beating us up. Jesus is present in the boat with us and might be waiting for us to wake Him up and ask for help. “Peace, be still.” Lord Jesus Christ, we pray you to calm the stormy seas within us.
O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.