The lectionary reading leaves verses 6-8 out of this passage. It’s not unlike the way we try to hide the ugly stories in our history.
Located on the border between Israel and Judah, Jerusalem was a strategic location for David to establish his capital as he united a divided people....
Give us, O God, the strength to build the city that hath stood too long a dream, whose laws are love, whose crown is servanthood, and where the sun that shineth is God’s grace for human good (UMH, no. 726).
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures this week celebrate Jerusalem, 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—a name used for earthly Jerusalem but 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 struggles like everyone else. 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.
Read 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10. What qualities of leadership are important in this reading? 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. What is it about that place that makes you especially aware of God’s presence?
Read 2 Corinthians 12:2-10. When have you experienced weakness becoming a source of strength and power?
Read Mark 6:1-13. When have you discounted someone because of your assumptions about them?
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