Lectionary, Proper 6, Year B

1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13 and Psalm 20
Ezekiel 17:22-24 and Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15
2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17
Mark 4:26-34

Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.

How do we choose leaders? What was it about David? He was the youngest; he was also the one doing the work. This is counter to the way leadership is often handed: to the eldest.

I’m also intrigued by the liturgical element. We anoint people for a variety of reasons. Our anointing people is a way of reminding them that they are kings; as subjects to Christ they have their own personal authority.

Why did the leaders fear Samuel? After all the men had passed Samuel, he didn’t choose any of them, but the boy who wasn’t there? David wasn’t respected, it seems, in his own family.

The psalm today is a great example of the church being for people: 20:4 May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans. Amen to that!

How does work give us meaning and make us feel powerful? The last verse in Ezekiel is I will accomplish it. Accomplishment – how does it work with grace and God’s power? That we can accomplish things is an analogue to God’s creativity; our work is a mirror and reflection of God’s work. This might be an entry into seeing our own lives, our work, as callings. Psalm 92 develops this sense of God’s work.

Paul is considered, by some, a great humanist – he’s like a positive psychology cheerleader. I think the reading is provocative: From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! A human point of view is through status, success, failure. In Christ, we see people through their passions, desires and dreams. We see them each as kings. We are confident in them. When we talk of faith – let us first discuss what we have confidence in.

The Gospel is the Mustard Seed parable. A few notes to remember: the mustard seed is like a weed. It’s everywhere. It also doesn’t take much to harvest. Sometimes when parishes work to hard, they are missing the point: it is better to work naturally, to harness the gifts that are already present. Play to our strengths.