Word for the Week
Sunday, July 8, 2018 Lectionary 14
Jesus does great deeds of power and gives his disciples authority over demons. Yet none of this power is unilateral; it all must be received by faith. Jesus asks his disciples to go out without money or supplies, so that they will be dependent on how others receive them. When we are sent from the assembly to witness and to heal, we are asked to be vulnerable, to be dependent on the reception of others. The Spirit always operates in the between: between Jesus and his Abba, between Jesus and us, between you and me, between us and those to whom we are sent.
Prayer of the Day
God of the covenant, in our baptism you call us to proclaim the coming of your kingdom. Give us the courage you gave the apostles, that we may faithfully witness to your love and peace in every circumstance of life, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
First Reading: Ezekiel 2:1-5
In 597 bce, the priest Ezekiel was removed into exile in Babylon. While there, he received a vision of God appearing majestically on a chariot throne. Today’s reading recounts God’s commissioning of Ezekiel during this vision. The prophet is to speak God’s word to a people unwilling to hear.
Psalm: Psalm 123
Our eyes look to you, O God, until you show us your mercy. (Ps. 123:2)
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Christians do not boast of their own accomplishments. Rather, Christian boasting focuses attention on how the power of Christ is present in our lives, especially in times of weakness and vulnerability. No matter what our circumstances in life, Christ’s grace is sufficient for us.
Gospel: Mark 6:1-13
At home and abroad, Jesus and his disciples encounter resistance as they seek to proclaim God’s word and relieve affliction.
Theme for the season of Pentecost (summer)
During the long season of Pentecost, we are given time to reflect on the creative love of God, Jesus’ ministry and miracles, and the blessing of the Holy Spirit. Throughout this time, we are given reminders of the ways that God calls us to belief.
The demands of the world, busy schedules, ringing phones, vibrating notifications, and the internet in our pockets… all of these things can and do distract us from the perfect love of God. When the noise of the world gets in the way, we are called to believe.
Life often hurts. The pain of the past, the concerns of the present, worries about the future all become heavy burdens we bear. When God seems silent, we are called to believe.
God draws us near to him. We get so filled up with God’s joy and love that we burst out singing and dancing, laughing and shouting together, lifting up praises to God with hands clasped and held high. When we worship, we are called to believe.
Nothing we have done or can do can earn us this calling. Only by the grace of God, demonstrated by Jesus and showered on us by the Holy Spirit, are we made perfect and worthy of God’s calling. In the moments we don’t feel worthy of God’s attention, we are called to believe.
Jesus shows us the power of his name through signs and wonders, promising to be living food and water for all those who hunger and thirst. The beauty of creation stands as witness to the unfathomable depths of God’s creative energy. When God’s power seems too great for us to understand, we are called to believe.
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, calls us to belief. How we answer that call is up to us.