Lessons for Proper 12, July 29, 2018

2 Samuel 11: 1-15

With the story of Goliath, David, the young untried warrior, is victorious; in the story of Bathsheba, David goes down to defeat. King and master of all Israel, he leaves the battlefront for the leisure of Jerusalem; his frontline leadership is no longer necessary. Bathsheba’s pregnancy is a surprise, so David summons Bathsheba’s husband and orders him to “wash your feet” (have sexual intercourse with your wife). When this fails to connect the forthcoming child to Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, David resorts to having Uriah killed. David’s blatant corruption comes as a shock to readers of the Samuel story; how could the sweet shepherd boy descend so far into sin? Yet David’s clear-cut sin can be seen as illustrating our own sins in the various ways of life.

Ephesians 3: 14-21

Here is a beautiful prayer for the readers of the Letter to the Ephesians. It begins with “For this reason”, a reference to an earlier section where the author, writing as Paul, expresses his total commitment to bringing the faith of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. Here Paul lays out the totality of the faith to make plain the love that is of Christ, now ready for the uncircumcised.

John 6: 1-21

The Gospel of John often connects stories of Jesus’ life with the significant days of life in Israel. Today it is the Passover, the most solemn festival described in Exodus. In the famous miracle of the feeding of the five thousand with little amounts of fish and bread, Jesus vividly demonstrates his power and gift from the Father; it, John says, is very convincing to the crowd on the hillside. Surely this is the leader we have been waiting for. Then in a second miracle immediately following, Jesus comes to the disciples on a rough sea, walking on the water. The disciples are terrified, not because of the waves, but because they realize “they are in the presence of God.”