Lessons for Proper 10, July 15, 2018

2 Samuel 6:  1 – 5,12b – 19

The Ark of God was a central symbol of God’s sovereign presence among the tribes of the Israelite people.  It had been in the sanctuary at Shiloh, but during the continuous wars in the time of Saul, it was hidden in an obscure village, in the house of Abinadab.  Now that David is fully recognized as the king of all Israel he seizes an opportunity to rescue the Ark and bring it to his new city of Jerusalem, installing it in a new tent where worship can be centered.  The Ark is a physical symbol, but its meaning is that God is the real king and by installing the Ark, David is teaching his people of the sovereignty of God.  In David’s “leapIng and dancing”, the author is pointing to the necessity of worshipping the Lord, and in feeding the multitude that brought the Ark to Jerusalem, David is wisely celebrating the Day of the Lord in Jerusalem.

Ephesians 1: 3 – 14

The Book of Ephesians, in the words of the biblical theologian, Lewis Donelson, is a “blessing to God for God’s blessing to us.”  The opening lines of today’s passage clearly expresses that theme.  But in what way, we who are simply children of God – how can we bless God?  The author of the letter makes clear the gifts bestowed on us – adoption as his children, grace in our daily lives, redemption through the Son, Jesus Christ, and the inheritance of the Kingdom of God.  Surely these things lay the groundwork for us to give thanks, to bless the lord who has blessed us in our earthly lives.

Mark 6: 14-29

The tale of John the Baptist, his power over king Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee, and the resultant intrigue in the royal court, has been the score of numerous plays and operas over the years.  In Mark’s Gospel, John, has been previously killed by Herod; in hearing of Jesus curing people in his territory, Herod believes it is John who has been raised from the dead to cause trouble again to Herod.  There is the little matter of John’s condemnation of Herod for dumping his wife in order to marry his brother’s wife.  All this leads to the well known scene of Salome dancing and demanding John’s head once again.  The grisly story anticipates Jesus’ crucifixion, with John the prophetic forerunner.  The spirit of John now rests on Jesus.