We would think that the presence of the new covenant in Jesus might draw Christian communities back toward God and away from their wandering pattern. Looking at the church of Corinth, apparently not. Despite the efforts of an apt ambassador in the apostle Paul, the congregation loses its bearings like a boat listing in the harbor.
I meet with a small group of men on a regular basis, and I shared today’s scripture with that group. The group offered up this summation:
It is not easy being a Christian. Don’t let anyone convince you falsely that it is supposed to be easy. Serving God requires great perseverance and a wide-open heart. We are at our worst when we receive God’s grace in vain and at our best when we accept and receive God’s grace as offered in the ultimate gift of the Son. Discipleship is serious business. We are talking life and death—don’t blow it! Now is the time to get our act together.
I’ve spent many years in retail frequently working on the sabbath, lamenting the practice in our culture of business as usual on Sunday. Keeping pace with the competition is always the argument for opening on Sunday. My small group meets at a business establishment that holds true to its Christian principles. The business is closed on Sunday so all employees can celebrate the sabbath. Yet, that business remains number one in their business market segment. “Now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!” Let us not delay taking each other’s hands with affection and opening wide our hearts, forevermore finding the best in us: Jesus the Messiah.

God, may we keep our hearts open so that your Son may make a home here with us now. 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?

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