Sunday, June 17, 2018
Lectionary 11

First Reading: Ezekiel 17:22-24

Tree imagery is used in a messianic prophecy to tell how the Lord will choose someone from Judah’s royal family (the cedar tree) to reign over all creation. This tree will be planted on Mount Zion, the location of the holy temple.

22Thus says the Lord God:
 I myself will take a sprig
  from the lofty top of a cedar;
  I will set it out.
 I will break off a tender one
  from the topmost of its young twigs;
 I myself will plant it
  on a high and lofty mountain.
23On the mountain height of Israel
  I will plant it,
 in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,
  and become a noble cedar.
 Under it every kind of bird will live;
  in the shade of its branches will nest
  winged creatures of every kind.
24All the trees of the field shall know
  that I am the Lord.
 I bring low the high tree,
  I make high the low tree;
 I dry up the green tree
  and make the dry tree flourish.
 I the Lord have spoken;
  I will accomplish it.

Semicontinuous First Reading: 1 Samuel 15:34--16:13

Saul, anointed by the prophet Samuel as the first king of Israel, displeases the Lord. The Lord therefore sends Samuel to Bethlehem where he anoints David, the youngest of the sons of Jesse, to succeed Saul as king.

34Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.
16:1The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” 4Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord‘s anointed is now before the Lord.” 7But the Lord said to Samuel, “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.” 8Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” 13Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

 

Psalm: Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15

The righteous shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon. (Ps. 92:12)

1It is a good thing to give thanks | to the Lord,
  to sing praise to your name,
| O Most High;
2to herald your love | in the morning
  and your faithful-
| ness at night;
3on the psaltery, and | on the lyre,
  and to the melody
| of the harp.
4For you have made me glad by your | acts, O Lord;
  and I shout for joy because of the works
| of your hands. R
12The righteous shall flourish | like a palm tree,
  and shall spread abroad like a ce-
| dar of Lebanon.
13Those who are planted in the house | of the Lord
  shall flourish in the courts
| of our God;
14they shall still bear fruit | in old age;
  they shall be
| green and succulent;
15that they may show how up- | right the Lord is,
  my rock, in whom there is
| no injustice. R

Semicontinuous Psalm: Psalm 20

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 [11-13] 14-17

Paul encourages believers to live by faith and not by sight. We do not consider Jesus from a human perspective but through the eyes of faith, believing he died for all and was raised. All who are in Christ are now in God’s new creation.

6So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.
  [
11Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. 12We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. 13For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. ] 14For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
16From 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. 17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Gospel: Mark 4:26-34

Jesus frequently uses parables to teach ordinary people as they are able to hear and understand. Images of sowing and growing show the vitality of God’s kingdom.

26[Jesus] said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,27and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
30He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
33With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

The Lord gives victory to the anointed one. (Ps. 20:6)

1May the Lord answer you in the | day of trouble,
  the name of the God of Ja-
| cob defend you;
2send you help from the | sanctuary
  and strengthen you
| out of Zion;
3may the Lord remember | all your offerings
  and accept
| your burnt sacrifice;
4grant you your | heart’s desire
  and prosper
| all your plans. R
5We will shout for joy at your victory and unfurl our banners in the name | of our God;
  may the Lord grant all
| your requests.
6Now I know that the Lord gives victory to | the anointed one;
  God will answer out of the holy heaven, gaining victory with a
| strong right hand. R
7Some trust in chariots and | some in horses,
  but we rely on the name of the
| Lord our God.
8They collapse | and fall down,
  but we will arise
| and stand upright.
9O Lord, give victory | to the king
  and answer us
| when we call. R

 

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