June 25, 2015 - Pentecost: Proper 8

FIRST LESSON: Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24 
Psalm 30
EPISTLE: 2 Corinthians 8: 7-15
GOSPEL: Mark 5: 21-43

Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

1. WISDOM OF SOLOMON 1:13-15; 2:23-24

These verses present a somber view of death – that death was never an intended part of creation.  As these verses suggest, death itself was not created by God, but rather was the work of the devil.  The word “Devil” as it is used here is a translation of the Hebrew word pronounced “satan” which literally means slanderer or accuser.  The serpent in the Garden of Eden is often identified as the “Satan,” though it was never described that way originally in the book of Genesis.  Where did death come from?  Is it natural?

2.  PSALM 30

In verse 3, the author refers to “the pit.”  This word is used as a synonym for either grave or Sheol (the realm of the dead).  It seems as if the author of this psalm was either very ill or near death, and is offering praise to God for his/her being healed.  The Lord transforms the author’s mourning into praise, symbolized by the removal of the author’s mourning clothes (sackcloth) and replacing them with clothing of joy.  What customs of mourning did you grow up with?  How have they changed since you were a child?  What is the purpose of mourning?

3. 2 CORINTHIANS 8: 7-15

This section of 2 Corinthians is primarily focused on financial stewardship.  Paul ascribes the values of stewardship to Jesus, who “though he was rich, for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”  Paul advocates a fair balance between our abundance and the needs of the church and of the world.  Perhaps recognizing that his message might not be received well, he bolsters his claim by quoting Exodus16: 18 in v. 15 which reads: “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.”  What prompts you to be generous with your time, energy, and money?

4.  MARK 5: 21-43

How does the story about Jesus raising the daughter of Jarius relate to the reading from the Wisdom of Solomon?  What does this story say about God’s role in the midst of death?  


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