Visit our new site at revgalblogpals.org.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

If It's Tuesday...

this must be Tuesday Lectionary Leanings, Hijacked Edition.

Cheesehead is away at General Assembly (PCUSA), and I am leaping in to share a thought that came from a colleague in my lectionary study group this morning.

We have two great stories this week, David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17, various verses) and Jesus calming the storm (Mark 4:35-41). The latter gives us this wonderful verse --

And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. (Mark 4:36a, NRSV)

Those are my italics. So, just how was Jesus that night?

My friend shared the story of a couple in her church who offered her a cabin for the middle weekend of her vacation, having noticed that she was all in, but not telling her so bluntly. She imagined Jesus so tired that the disciples had to bundle him into the boat, the way we might a child who has had a long day. Mark's gospel repeatedly refers to Jesus' withdrawing for prayer and rest. Just as he was, he rested in the back of the boat, asleep on a cushion, so drained he is not wakened by the storm.

But just as he was, he retained the power to calm the storm, to the amazement of his disciples. And they began to get a sense of who he really was.

David approached Goliath, too, just as he was, saying "no, thank you" to Saul's armor and picking up those five smooth stones from the wadi to use in his shepherd boy slingshot.

When I hear those words "just as" I am reminded of the old hymn, "Just As I Am," a sinner's song of approach to God. That's one aspect of our faith, recognizing that we don't deserve salvation based on the merits, any of us. But what if we turn that image around and find a different kind of encouragement in it? What is "just as I am" or "just as you are" is what we need to acknowledge in order to draw on the gifts and talents given to us by God in the first place?

What are you thinking about this week, lectionarily speaking?

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for opening up this scripture with a fantastic twist :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd never caught this before, Songbird. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    I'm struck by the absolute power and authority illustrated in both these stories. Neither David nor the Lord had to mumble secret incantations or perform elaborate rituals to conjure up their power. The Spirit of God was with them, as you say, just as they were. The storm obeys, the giant falls, all because God empowers those whom God calls. Their relationship with God carries with it God's authority and, when the task requires it, the power of God is at our disposal. Good stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I never saw this before. Thanks! Not being a lectionary kind of preacher, I have already planned to preach about worship (I've been doing a series)...and I've already planned to try the lectionary next year. Y'all have inspired me. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm continuing with my David series, so I get to talk about David and Goliath!

    I'll be taking somewhat the same tack--David knew who he was, and that Saul's ways (Saul's armour) wasn't for him. God was with David, and David acted in the ways that were familiar and comforable to him, not conforming to what others expected of him, but according to what the Spirit led him to do.

    Does anyone else remember the TV show from the 60s, "Davey and Goliath," about a boy (Davey) who's always getting into trouble, and his dog, Goliath, who keeps warning him against doing stupid things? They were sort of bendy puppets. "I don't know, Davey..." I think it was a production of either the ELCA or LCA-MS...

    I'm also ranting today on group process and interpersonal dynamics--only I'm not that "pastoral counseling" about it...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Here's a great page on "Davey and Goliath." It was the Lutheran CHurch in America...

    http://www.awn.com/heaven_and_hell/DG/DG1.htm

    Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the thoughts on Jesus just as he was... really made me think!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The NRSV says the boat was "being swamped" (4:37). Of course, the disicples are "being swamped" as well... "we are perishing" (4:38).

    I wonder what it would be like to be in quicksand, going down, knowing they will soon die. There's not much hope in going down in the middle of a sea - as the sea was greatly feared back then.

    Yet, when they are saved from the sea, it's clear where their biggest fear is found. The are afraid of Jesus. They've got a Jesus phobia - a supersized, "mega phobia" according to the text.

    The disciples had that sinking feeling, much as the Israelite army in facing the "champion" of the Philistines. Did they call out to God, Do you not care that we are being destroyed? Will you not send us a savior?

    In both texts, leaders question the identity of the one who saved them.

    The Israelites ran from Goliath in fear. The disciples had no where to run from their mega fear.

    It seems that we often feel that we are "being swamped." Perhaps we won't speak it, but we may wonder if God hears our prayers - if God might be asleep. Does God care about this bog we are in?

    The alligators of life surround us, their teeth can take hold with a death grip, their strength can pull us down to where the breath of life leaves us.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is such a wonderful image. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi revgalspals, It is so good to be able to use internet again. I am alive!

    I am doing the Mark passage. I have a couple of thoughts about the passage, and of course nothing is coming together. I am thinking about the church I am now in they have just weathered a storm of crisis before I got here, and we are still going through it. I am also thinking about the larger church that is loosing member after member. I am thinking about those things in light of that Jesus was in the boat with them, he calmed the storms. I think we are all crying out about the storms of life; "Jesus, do you not care that we are perishing?"

    I appreciate some of the other thoughts and images as well.

    I'll be preaching on the 2 Corinthians passage on Sunday night. And I am using the old testament passage for Wednesday night bible study on David, a Man after God's Own heart. And no it is not a Beth Moore study. Prayers to the rest of you preaching as well.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've got two sermons to preach tomorrow, both of which are creeping very slowly into existence. The first is just on the Mark passage. There are several attenders with overwhelming personal circumstances, so I'm talking about dealing with the feeling of "being swamped." I'm working on making this not trite or full of easy, "God will take care of you" stuff...so if any other last minute-ers out there have thoughts, they are welcome.

    Second sermon is from Mark and the David and Goliath story, going on the basic theme of God using seemingly unremarkable people to do amazing works in the world.

    ReplyDelete

You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, revgalblogpals.org. We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.