I Samuel 8: 4-11, (12: 15) 16-20
In the current space of one week of June, the Old Testament reading moves from the tale of Samuel as a young man assuming leadership of his people to the close of his time when the elders of Israel demand that Samuel give them a king, “like other nations”. Samuel was a God-appointed leader; he did his best to settle disputes to keep Israel on an even keel. But his sons were not reliable; they took bribes and were corrupt in carrying out their father’s instructions. Change was coming; people wanted a new form of government. God and Samuel were not enough. Samuel rejected the demand for a king, but did pray to God for direction. And God did agree to a king but instructed Samuel to list all the side-effects of kingship – loss of land, of labor, conscription, war, etc. But the people still cried for a king. And thus, Saul became King of Israel.
II Corinthians 4; 13-5; 1
The psalmist line (116: 10), “I believed and so I spoke”, refers to a time of trouble when the psalmist trusted God and was blessed. Paul sees himself and his people in Corinth in the same predicament. Preaching Jesus Christ as Lord, Paul looks to heaven, to the end of travail on earth. It is to this reward of life beyond the grave that Paul prays for these new Christians. And in that promise is seen the power and consolation of Jesus Christ.
Mark 3: 20-35
By this time in his life, Jesus is drawing crowds of people who are at least curious of his seemingly outlandish statements. It’s like a new comedian in a late night show who captivates the audience with things they have not heard before. Jesus is in Capernaum and another crowd has surrounded him. But some of the crowd are not there simply to listen; for them the teaching Jesus is making as his ministry continues to grow is evidence of madness, of instability. It is evidence that Jesus has partnered with Satan and thus must be restrained. It is more than unhinging; it is false teaching and against the God of Israel, the leaders cried. Indeed, his words greatly worry his mother and brothers who arrive to remove him from harm, but Jesus simply expands the notion of family beyond his natural home, calling all who would follow him his brothers and sisters.