“Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?” the psalmist asks. We return to the question that opened our week together. The psalm continues, greeting God the King of glory whose advent opens the gates and lifts up the doors, whose victory liberates the city at the summit.

We, as adopted children of the king of glory, ride on the royal coattails through the high gates. The doors cannot be closed against us. We do not need to deceive ourselves about the state of our souls because God, who knows us inside and out, has granted us safe passage across the borders of holiness into the nearer presence of grace. We have only to wash our faces, raise our heads, and seek the face of the God of our ancestors, whose inheritance is ours.

But if we turn aside, whom do we find walking with us? Will we notice David, and is he fearful still? Will we see Michal, looking down but reaching up? And where did we leave Herod?

On the hillsides of England and Wales, intersecting with strangers, I have received more grace than I have offered. I think I have needed more! But perhaps we all feel that way from time to time. Maybe a younger woman has, in fact, taken courage from seeing this old body heave itself over one more obstacle. Grace is impossible to imprison, after all; she spills out of any vessel that tries to contain her. Like water, she finds her way to the lowest point, to the person struggling for a foothold at the bottom of the crag; and grace revives the parched heart.

We belong to God as beloved children, God’s own creation, imprinted with the divine image, which cannot be erased. Let us, as a created and redeemed family, encourage one another toward the summit of God’s love.

God of our ancestors, God of our children, God of our past, God of our present, God of our wandering hearts, carry us over the threshold of your love, and hold us forever. 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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