Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | June 8, 2018

Lectionary Reflection: The Third Sunday after Pentecost

Blog|Carol James

1 Samuel 8:4-11, 16-20; Psalm 138; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35

Our readings today focus on people in conflict, yearning to be ordered and “normal.” Even when told of all the harm an absolute authority could bring to their community, the elders of Israel want the simplicity of being told what to do by a king “like other nations.” In the early days of Jesus’ ministry, we’re told that his family was troubled and alarmed by his actions, hoping to bring him out of the all-too-dangerous spotlight that his preaching and healing attracted.

Even within ourselves, we can be divided, pulled by contrary impulses. This week, I recognized myself in this description from Kathleen Norris’ Acedia & Me: “I have become like the child I once knew who emerged one morning from a noisy, chaotic Sunday school classroom to inform the adults who had heard the commotion and had come to investigate, ‘We’re being bad, and we don’t know how to stop.’”

I laughed, and I hope you do too – because that’s a heart-cry that I think many of us have felt at some time or another. Paul urges his downcast friends in Corinth to realize that we continue to be renewed by God’s grace and love, even when it seems ridiculous that God should care for such wavering, vulnerable creatures as us.  

Is that why Jesus asks us to think of sins against the Holy Spirit as “unforgivable”? We need to hear and trust that still, small voice that each of us carries, and it’s so much softer than the voices of the world.  It may be the only voice that leads us to enduring peace.

Carol James has been part of the cathedral community for over a decade. She has served as a co-mentor in the Education for Ministry program. She currently leads the evening prayer providers in the Jail Ministry and is a cathedral staff member.

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