Sometimes when the lectionary skips a few verses, they hold arcane detail unlikely to illuminate any but the most dedicated archaeologists of the Bible. Other times, they reveal uncomfortable information that would interfere with the simple, smooth story that we prefer to tell. In this week’s passage from Second Samuel 6, the lectioneers jump from verse 5 to the end of verse 12, omitting a telling lesson from the triumphant tale of the ark’s journey to Jerusalem.

On the way from Baal-judah to the city of David, the ark is jolted into the barn at Nacon for an overnight stay. Uzzah reaches out to steady it. But somewhere between the stumbling and steadying, Uzzah falls down and dies. His death is interpreted as an act of God. David is suddenly overcome with fear of his responsibility to take care of God’s covenant with the people. He sends the seat of holiness to stay in the house of a foreigner, letting him bear the risk of God’s favor.

When we let others take the risks of love instead of investing ourselves, we also disinvest from the interest love accrues.

After three months, David hears that Obed-edom’s household has been blessed by the presence of the ark, so David resumes his rejoicing and brings the ark up to the city. He offers sacrifice every six steps, to be safe. He dances his heart out in praise. He blesses the people and shares the bounty, inviting them into and implicating them in the covenant of God.

Underneath his royal trappings, David was afraid to grasp the covenant that God offered him. But he tried, shedding the armor of fear, the costume of finery, the disguise of status, stripping down to the bare essentials, just as the boy once had before the giant Goliath, as he danced and prayed his way toward Zion.

Gracious God, fear of you is only the beginning of wisdom; perfect love dissolves fear. Help me to shed the falsehoods that fear tells me. Show me how to bare my soul to you, trusting your affection. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 6:14-29

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Lectionary Week
July 5–11, 2021
Scripture Overview

Two readings this week focus on welcoming God’s presence. David does this by bringing the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. As the ark arrives, David dances, worshiping God with reckless abandon. The author of Psalm 24 poetically calls a city to open its gates and welcome the great king. These passages invite us to consider how willingly we receive God into our lives. The reading from Ephesians speaks of God’s eternal plan. While circumstances may seem chaotic, God holds an eternal perspective and has sealed us with the Holy Spirit. Mark tells the sad story of the execution of John the Baptist, yet another example of a righteous person experiencing persecution.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19. How do you bless others in your daily life?
Read Psalm 24. In what ways do you honor the Creator in the ways you care for God’s creation?
Read Ephesians 1:3-14. Where have you stumbled on your faith journey and found God ready and willing to help?
Read Mark 6:14-29. When have you experienced a guilty conscience? Did you resolve the issue that was causing the feeling?

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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