I got behind with the transition to the new job. My hopes are to catch up and get back in the swing of studying and commenting on the lectionary. The first of July was my last Sunday as the pastor of two churches, and Sunday, July 8th was my first Sunday working regionally for two United Methodist districts comprising about 200 churches. I am going to write a few notes for this week even though it has passed…and the sermon is done. Maybe in three years I can a bit more insight into the texts i did not preach from.
- The texts from the Hebrew scriptures are about the reign of David beginning when he was 30 years old. When you think about it, this rule has been a long time coming. Since the stories of the boy who slew Goliath, singing Saul to sleep, etc. Many years have passed from when we knew this boy would be king and when the kingship begins. The Psalm compliments the first reading well and gives praise to the God of Mount Zion, the city of he great king.
- The Epistle includes a revelatory experience of Paul, quite unique to the rest of the letter to the Corinthians. But the overall theme of the passage is about Paul’s weaknesses being his strength. Some of my favorite verses in the letters of Paul: “Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
- I preached from the Gospel on Sunday. It coincides with moving week for many United Methodist ministers in Western North Carolina. It is a time of transition for many churches. Mark’s Gospel is a reminder that we are always in transition, always on the go as disciples of Jesus. The early part of the reading is Jesus going to his hometown and discovering that he could not do much in the way of preaching the Gospel and healing those in need. Something about familiarity and family makes it difficult. (Might be a good reason to remember that we are always being sent out). A few of the thoughts I shared–a) if you are a disciple of Jesus, you are sent out and on a mission; b) you are not in this alone, but expected to be part of a team; c) we do not need to overpack for the journey/simplicity is key to being on the mission(what does that say about multi-million dollar buildings and huge program budgets?); d) we are called to speak and do the same things that Jesus did-offer forgiveness and opportunities to turn around, to bring healing and wholeness to those in need.