Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 12), Year B

  • 2 Samuel 11:1-15 and Psalm 14 •
  • 2 Kings 4:42-44 and Psalm 145:10-18 •
  • Ephesians 3:14-21 •
  • John 6:1-21

  • In yoga, a person practices a progressive series of poses and each pose builds and expands in some way on the previous pose.  After 20 minutes or so of stretching in ways some believe unimaginable, it can be relatlively easy to balance on one foot, hands aloft, one foot tucked against the pubic bone, bent knee turned out - tree pose.  Tall and elegant and in the midst of a very good practice, still, straight, strong, balanced. 

    But it's much, much harder (impossible for some) to do tree pose in the middle of the day without a lead up of stretches and bends and poses.  Try it.  One day, while grocery shopping, running errands, making dinner, drop what you are doing and try to do tree pose.

    Not so easy.  Wobbly.  Weak. 

    Balance comes when we work toward it with intention, with appropriate self-care, with self-love, when we let go of things that do not matter, and focus on becoming that balanced being, that tall, unwavering tree.
    As we were thinking about balance, we recognized it connected to this week's lectionary readings with a word that captured us: Satisfied.  What does it mean to be Satisfied?  And does being Satisfied have anything to do with our balance? Our ability to stand firm and straight and strong? Our ability to stay standing despite the wind, the chaos, the temptations and disappointments, the political wind?  Are we centered deeply enough, Satisfied with who we are and what we are doing to become a tall and elegant tree, arms aloft like branches?

    From the Hebrew scriptures, we read the familiar story of David and Bathsheba.  Let's focus on just a few facts in the story.  First, it is the spring of the year when Kings go off to battle, and David is at home looking out over his city.  What's up with that? Somewhere he went from being the commander of the armies to guy who stayed home.  He sees Bathsheba bathing on her roof and sends for her...one thing leads to another.  There is also a connection here between engagement and Satisfaction. It seems when folks do not have specific responsibilities driving them, they are less Satisfied. Next thing we know, David is concocting crazy schemes to try to get Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, to lay with his wife - all of this while Uriah is neck-deep in a battle in which David is not actively participating.  What's going on in David's life?  We can't really know.  We know that God has promised David a legacy.  We know that David is in a season of battles with surrounding kingdoms, winning fame and fortune along the way. We haven't seen David praying much in this "season."  And it makes us wonder just where his priorities were...what focus was absent from his life that caused him to be at loose ends on his rooftop?

    The second Hebrew text and the reading from John's Gospel both deal with miraculous feedings.  It was in the John passage that we were captured by that single word, "Satisfied."  Jesus has been traveling and teaching and now faces a really large crowd.  They have been listening passionately while day draws on.  The disciples want to send them home, but clearly Jesus senses the importance of their gathering and he insists that the disciples attend to the crowd's need for food and drink.  The disciples can't imagine how the meager loaves and fishes they have identified will do the trick.  Jesus blesses the food and it is distributed....each having "as much as they wanted" and being Satisfied.  We haven't looked closely at different translations (confession!) but we were so drawn to this single word that it seemed God was present in the text in our reading.  SATISFIED.  What does it mean to be Satisfied...not Satiated.  Not full. Satisfied. 

    We are a society that expects to be full to the brim - to have life that is overflowing with meaning, to have plates overflowing with food, to have cars overflowing with gas.  Is it possible that we expect too much and in our expectation we are distracted from the things that really matter?  Is it possible that David was drunk with political success and had forgotten that he was God's chosen leader and God had promised him good things?  Is it possible that we are focused on our credibility, our possessions, our status in such a way that we forget that we all share a common call from God?  That we are all part of the same covenant?  That we are God's beloved creation called to share what we have so that all may experience the Kingdom of God? Are we Satisfied?  What parts of us need stretched so that we can find that stately, firm, tall and mighty balance?

    For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
    from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.
    I pray that, according to the riches of his glory,
    he may grant that you may be strengthened
    in your inner being with power through his Spirit,
    and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith,
    as you are being rooted and grounded in love.
    I pray that you may have the power to comprehend,
    with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
    and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
    so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
    Now to him who by the power at work within us
    is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,
    to him be glory in the church
    and in Christ Jesus to all generations,
    forever and ever. Amen.
    (Ephesians 3: 14 - 21)

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

    1 comment:

    Kim Norvell said...


    Thanks for these encouraging words & scriptures.

    Kim Norvell