The moods of Psalm 48 are like a sandwich. The opening and closing verses resound with joy and exultation, while verses 4-7 describe astonishment, panic, and trembling. The source of these varied emotions is God’s powerful presence in Jerusalem, referred to as the city of God and Mount Zion in this psalm.
For the people of Israel, the city of God is a source of joy and wonder because it reflects God’s very nature. The city’s elevation is a marvel, giving beautiful views of the surrounding hills, providing safety from enemies, and reassuring the people that God is the city’s defense.
The city inspires its inhabitants’ awareness of God’s greatness; they cannot help but tell their children and grandchildren about God’s acts. God has been faithful to the people of Israel, and God will continue to guide them, their God forever.
Sandwiched between words of joy and exultation is a description of what the kings of invading armies felt as they approached the holy city. The strength of the city is visible to these kings as soon as they see it, and they panic. The aspects of the city that comfort its residents affect outsiders in a very different way.
This holy and everyday place, the city of Jerusalem, spoke in different ways to residents and to foreign kings. In the same way, many ordinary events and places speak in various ways about God to us. We may find ourselves in a joyful place like the people of Israel or trembling like foreign kings; either way, we look to God as protector and guide.

Loving God, help me to see you clearly in everyday events and places. Give me moments of exuberant joy in who you are and what you do. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 6:1-13

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Lectionary Week
July 2–8, 2018
Scripture Overview

The readings from the Hebrew scriptures this week celebrate the city of Jerusalem. This was the capital of the great King David, who united the ancient Israelites and built up the city. The psalmist praises Jerusalem using the image of Zion. Zion is a name used for earthly Jerusalem, but it is also a gesture toward a future day when God’s people will abide in a heavenly city. In Second Corinthians, Paul explains that even though he is an apostle, he still struggles like everyone else. Wild speculation surrounds the “thorn” that plagued Paul, but his point is that when he is weakest, God is strongest. In Mark we see God’s power working through Jesus, who sent out others to expand God’s healing work.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10. The king of Israel exhibited the qualities of a shepherd. How do those qualities square with your experience with those in power?
• Read Psalm 48. Bring to mind a place where you experience God’s presence. Do you find yourself drawn there? Why?
• Read 2 Corinthians 12:2-10. When have you experienced a weakness becoming a source of power?
• Read Mark 6:1-13. When have you limited God’s power through your disbelief?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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