This scripture is a treasure trove of truth about ourselves. Here we have the example of what we can become when we are unsure of ourselves as Goliath was when he shouted, “Am I not a Philistine?” We can imagine the Philistines feel less esteem as a group than the Israelites but not because the Israelites treat them that way. Certainly the actions of the Philistines cause Israel to view them as the enemy.
What happens when we begin to view ourselves as part of a segmented group, which in my case could be WASP, jock, senior citizen, or Georgia Bulldog? We may lose sight of who we are as individuals and take on the group’s identity. In these verses, we witness the concept of posturing—the grand ploy of the ego—on full display. The Philistines and Israelites engage in childhood playground antics by yelling dares and double-dog dares back and forth at each other. And the elected representative has a uniform of armor second to none.
This stage production begins to border on comedy. On the one hand, we have all this noisy chaos with two groups screaming at each other. Surely this image is the worst in us. On the other hand, the youthful David walks in calmly, fresh from tending his flock. He shuns elaborate war dress for five smooth stones, providing a picture of divine assuredness, comfortable in his own skin.
When David arrives, he greets his brothers and hears Goliath’s challenge. His reply, “Your servant will go and fight.
. . . The Lord will save me.” We learn then that the best in us can rise above and overcome the worst in us with God’s assurance!

Father, may we be aware of the hope of glory and the five smooth stones that turn back our egos. May we also seize the day! Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 4:35-41

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Lectionary Week
June 18–24, 2018
Scripture Overview

As children of God, we will face opposition; but God will ultimately give us victory. The psalmist cries out to God asking for deliverance from oppression at the hands of his enemies and concludes the psalm with the assurance that God will do so. Tradition credits this psalm to David, who as a boy had risked his life against Goliath based on that same assurance. Goliath mocked the Israelites and their God, but God gave the victory. Paul recounts his sufferings for the gospel, yet he is not overcome or in despair, for he trusts in God. Jesus calms a storm and is disappointed that the disciples show so little faith. Why do they not believe in God’s deliverance? And what about us? Do we still believe in God’s deliverance?

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read 1 Samuel 17:1a, 4-11, 19-23, 32-49. How do you stay grounded in the knowledge that you are part of the people of God? How does that knowledge sustain you in trying times?
• Read Psalm 9:9-20. When have you been provoked to cry out, “Rise up, O Lord?” On whose behalf did you cry?
• Read 2 Corinthians 6:1-13. When have you allowed your discipleship to become lax? Can you sense Paul’s urgency in his appeal: “Now is the acceptable time” (emphasis added)?
• Read Mark 4:35-41. How do you find the quiet center when the storms of life rage around you?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”


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