Proper 8 (Year B)

June 28, 2015
The Word: 

Time to Get Up by Jason Byassee
The holy mysteries of Christianity are vast—death (Psalm 30), healing (Mark 5), resurrection, a humble messiah (2 Corinthians 8)—but we should never stop trying to fathom them.

Only Believe by Michaela Bruzzese
Mark is unsubtle in his insistence that God loves the least of these as much as the greatest -- but Jesus also rejects the assumption that if there is a "winner," there must also be a loser. In this kingdom, we are all adopted children.

Cries for Help by Robert Roth
God's response to human calls -- David's elegy, the psalmist's hymn, and a father who simply wants his daughter to live -- takes many forms, from healing and justice to plates overflowing with food. Roth asks those in the U.S. to consider their response to the current pleas of hardworking migrant workers.

Saved by Faith by Michaela Bruzzese
The themes of equality and faith found throughout scripture shine forth in 2 Corinthians 8 and in Mark 5's account of two healings. In the gospel story, Jairus' daughter and the woman who has bled for 12 years are on opposite ends of the social spectrum. Yet for Jesus faith is an equalizer of status.

Cry From the Deep by Peter B. Price
In the healings in Mark's gospel, the people seeking healing from Christ must cross boundaries in order for the sick to be made well. While these stories are of individual healings, they also remind us that we each have a part to play in restoring the marginalized and in bringing healing to our society.

Out of the Depths by Verna J. Dozier
These Hebrew scripture texts are superb examples of the poetry of lament. In 2 Samuel, David cries out over the deaths of Jonathan and Saul, yet he includes no words of bitterness but only reaffirms his trust in God. The solemn tone of Psalm 130 speaks to the universality of human sin but also of grace. And the gospel reminds us of Jesus' power to heal, lifting us from the depths of despair.

In Context: 

Remembering Rizpah by Paula Gooder
In 2 Samuel 1, David cries out for the fallen Saul and Jonathan, perished by the weapons of war. As the book continues, the bloodshed increases, and the Gibeonites kill seven men in retribution for Saul's genocidal intentions against them. Yet David refuses to bury the bodies - including Saul and his beloved Jonathan. By keeping a vigil over the bodies, Rizpah - mother of two of the slain - helps David to ask God's forgiveness and to break a centuries-long cycle of violence.

Themes: 

Building Just Relationships (2 Corinthians 8:7-15, Mark 5:21-43)

'Behold, The Treasure of the Church' by Ched Myers
Tackling the question of charity versus justice, Myers argues that churches must approach the poor from a commitment to solidarity with those who have been left on the margins of society. Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians also expound upon the need for grace-filled equality rather than patronage. Jesus refuses to patronize the bleeding woman in Mark 5; through faith, we participate in our own liberation.

Seeking the 'Fair Balance' by Peg Rosenkrands
Paul's timeless message in 2 Corinthians 8 acknowledges wealth disparity and addresses the spiritual issues at the heart of our newer, yet fundamentally old, economic realities; Rosenkrands offers specific advice for how the growing field of socially responsible investing can help us respond to Paul's invitation to more deeply integrate social justice values with personal giving and investing plans.

Healing Through Faith (Mark 5:21-43)

The Stumbling Block of Healing by Dee Dee Risher
In Mark 5, Jesus tells the woman cured of a hemorrhage that her faith has made her well. Risher considers what the importance of healings in Jesus' ministry means for us today, when a belief in scientifically unexplainable healing -- a grace which Risher has seen come in a seemingly arbitrary way -- is an issue that splits the church.

Placebos of Power by Sharon Ringe
Jesus’ work of healing touched many dimensions of his life, ministry, and identity as God's Anointed One. In a society where - as we often find today -- health care depends on social status, Jesus' acts of healing are signs of the coming of the reign of God with its message of good news to the faithful poor.

The Gospel and the Poor (2 Corinthians 8:7-15)

Good News for the Poor by Samuel Escobar
Paul tells the Corinthians -- who knew material poverty well -- that Christ gave up his spiritual richness for their sake. But this message can't be understood only in spiritual terms, as the connection between material and spiritual poverty is not easily dismissed.

'There Was Not a Needy Person Among Them' by Diane MacDonald
Paul outlines for early believers a plan to share their abundance, extending their aid from members of their own congregations fallen on hard times to other Christians they had not even met. In a world of deep divisions, the church today must continue to address these questions, MacDonald argues, cultivating the networks among Christians in order to meet the needs of all.

Quote: 

"The term that is repeated 10 times in 2 Corinthians 8-9 is 'grace' (Greek charis). Paul, the great apostle of 'grace alone,' here makes it clear that it is not just a theological concept but includes the practice of economic sharing (2 Corinthians 8:4, 6-7, 19), which practice Christ modeled (2 Corinthians 8:9)."
-Ched Myers, 'Behold, The Treasure of the Church'

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