Second Sunday After Pentecost, Year B

1 Samuel 8.4-11
Genesis 3.8-15
Psalm 130
II Corinthians 4.13-5.1
Mark 3.20-35

As humans, we don't have a great track record of governing ourselves or of imagining that what we have is better than that which we don't have - choosing to be satisfied is not a native instinct.

Americans (and especially those of us at KC) often trend toward believing we don't need anyone telling us what to do.  We like to think of ourselves as autonomous, right?  We like to think that we know better and deserve more than the world knows or is able to give us.  

A tiny illustration shows up in Genesis. Adam and Eve were given free reign in the garden with just a couple of boundaries.....and they transgressed those boundaries. The first example in scripture that even with rules and the best God has to offer, we'll push boundaries.  Is that just part of our human condition?

Maybe we don't like folks telling us what to do, but as we have lived in community with other humans we have certainly benefited from consulting one another and trusting one another and supporting one another.

In the story we find in Samuel we see the people of Israel asking, begging, and demanding a King. They had spent some time without a leader. They had tried following prophets and judges and they came to the conclusion they wanted a King like all of their neighbors.  And they are warned that with a King will come a host of other woes.  Keep reading the stories.  All those woes show up...and more.

And even though God and Samuel both tried to talk the people out of it, they pushed on and got their King....Saul.

Later on we see some examples of how we respond well and even thrive when we have someone to follow. In Paul's second letter to the people of Corinth he lays out for them the ways their connection to God through Jesus is to their benefit. Connection, not autonomy.  Really, on average, how many of us here in America believe that our inner nature is being renewed...in spite of all the difficulty life deals?

In Jesus' hometown, he's doubted and chastised and accused.  The people that live there are imagining something sinister behind his ministry.  They accuse him of being a demon, because surely only a demon can cast out a demon.  It's a slightly different view, but sometimes our dissatisfaction with what we have or don't have manifests itself as contempt for what someone else DOES have.  Maybe they didn't understand what it was that Jesus was doing and that made them uncomfortable. But instead of looking closely, asking questions, engaging, they speak against that which they can't understand.  

What does it take to be comfortable in our own skin, with that which we already have - and not just comfortable but appreciative?  What does it take for us to believe that we want to be right where we are with the people we are with and the things and skills and gifts we already have?

help me settle my longing beyond
what I already AM
what I already know
what I already see
and help me discover joy
and gift
and contentment
and satisfaction
and goodness.
All good gifts
when I recognize them.

© laura & matt norvell 2012 www.settingourstones.org  - We share this with you and hope you'll share with the world; we simply ask thatyou let people know where you found these words. May Grace & Peace be with you.

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