16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Proper 11), Year B

2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Psalm 89:20-37
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

We list "caregiver" among our many roles and titles. We care for kids, for homes, for parents, for pets, for co-workers, for classmates. And some days that is a heavy burden - some days it is a lonely place. We can get overwhelmed by the responsibility or we can credit ourselves with donning a mantle of responsibility. We can become proud and in the next moment feel martyred by our burdens.

But in this week's readings, we were reminded that we are not just caregivers...we receive care as well. We are divinely cared for and have been through history. This plays out in the scripture, but it also plays out in the reality of our lives. In our vulnerable moments, we are deeply loved. There are moments when, against all odds, we find ourselves on our feet standing tall. Often when we are at the end of our rope, when we believe that not one more bad thing can happen, we are lifted up in miraculous and unexpected ways.

And even though it has happened over and over again, we find it a little breathtaking each time it happens. Each time that we experience unfathomable grace or inexplicable calm in the storm of life, there is awe...God is present with us and for us and loves us deeply.

In the text from 2 Samuel, we see some continuation of David's enthusiasm from last week. He decides that it is inappropriate that he, David, sleeps in a house of cedar while the Ark of God resides in a tent, as it has for generations. He's working closely with the prophet Nathan, who has a pretty intimate dialogue going with God. And God is a little appalled, it would seem, by David's notion of building a Temple. (Although, we are intrigued that God saves this task for a future king. Perhaps there will be more on that later.) God is pretty clear - God hasn't needed the care and keeping of an edifice, and in fact, God has provided much more than God needed at each step in the liberation of the Israelites.

The Psalmist recounts God's unique selection and care and keeping of David. This Psalm reads as if we are listening in to the mind of God as God thinks about the hopes and dreams about David's future and the ways he will be provided and cared for and protected and tested.

In the gospel of Mark, Jesus and the disciples are keeping a grueling pace. The apostles had just returned from one of their first solo missions to do the work that Jesus had sent them out to do. And when they got back, Jesus cared for them physically by making sure they went away to rest some. Now, as is often true in the gospel stories, their respite did not last for long because folks tracked Jesus and the disciples down asking to be taught and healed, but the important thing here is the intention. Jesus knew that even these folks who were out doing "God's Work" needed physical and mental and emotional and spiritual rest so they could restore themselves and be prepared to do the work again.

In the epistle to the community at Ephesus, the writer addresses this community of gentiles, connecting them to the God of Israel through the teaching and inclusive, embracing ministry of Jesus. It reads to us today as a little wordy and round-a-bout in getting to its purpose, but this passage really is attempting to reach out for folks and care for them and make sure they understand they (the Gentiles) are included and loved and accepted as a part of the community of followers of Christ.

Is it easy to remember that you are loved and cared for? Why or why not?

no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves,
we have no idea how You "work."
We do not know Your Schedule.
We do not know how it is You Love each of us.
What we do know is that You Do.
Help us as we attempt to let go of the Need to Know
Help us as we attempt to let go of Understanding Why
Help us as we attempt to quiet our needs to control You
Help us as we learn to allow ourselves to be Loved and Cared for.

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