| NOTE: Sunday, June 13 at 9 a.m. we’ll honor all our graduates! When invited, please come forward so we can acknowledge you and your efforts! |
By the Rev. Christopher Potter, Vicar
In the First Book of Samuel, Samuel is tasked with finding a successor to Saul, the first King of the united Israel. Saul presided (late 11th century BCE) over the evolution of Israel from a simple tribal society to a more structured, bureaucratic state. Apparently, and because of the economic hardships that accompanied the transitions into this new government, God was not pleased with Saul and regretted the day God chose Saul.
The connection between the Deity and the ruling class was very tight, and the choice of successors was always left “in the hands of God.” Saul had six children with his wife, four sons and two daughters, plus two sons with his concubine. (This is where you’re supposed to wonder what’s referred to as the purity of “biblical marriage”.) The heir-apparent to Saul’s reign was his only surviving son, Ish-bosheth (it’s a long story). However, God had different plans.
Samuel ‘heard’ God telling him to ignore Saul’s lineage and go speak with Jesse, of Bethlehem to find among his sons the next king of Israel. With Jesse’s help, Samuel interviewed what he thought were all Jesse’s sons. Samuel, however, discerned that God was not pleased with any of them. Despite what Saul thought were good prospects, God whispered to him, “Do not look on [their] appearance or on the height of [their] stature, […] for the Lord does not see as mortals see.” I’m guessing these kids were all tall, ripped and handsome as all get-out; just not meeting the criteria God has in mind. Samuel thought all was lost.
When Samuel asks Jesse if he has any more sons, Jesse says, ‘Yeah, but he’s just a dirty kid who’s smelly from working in the fields with the sheep. You won’t like him.’ Samuel becomes obstinate and refuses to leave until he meets with this shepherd-son. When this kid shows up, Samuel rises immediately and anoints David as the new King of Israel.
Rather than being perturbed at the selection, the nation agreed with Samuel’s wisdom and God’s choice. While we might not have expected the outcome (had we not already known the story), the people who first heard this would have picked up on something right away. ‘Shepherd’ in Hebrew culture was always metaphor for the King. When the people first heard of the shepherd in the field, they knew intuitively that THIS, finally was the one.
What human beings think is often miles away from what God has planned.
In Sunday’s Gospel, we’re going to hear Jesus tell us about God’s plan for Jesus, for the world, and for us. If we listen closely, we’ll hear that God’s plan is as far away from the expected as David was being chosen for Israel’s King. For one thing, God’s plan for the universe does NOT involve us believing, doing, or thinking the right things. In fact, the good news of this Marcan passage is that the outcome, the conclusion of God’s plan, is already certain. To some, this sounds like predestination – and perhaps it is; the best kind of predestination there can be.
When presented with the nuances of God’s plan, people can become largely uncomfortable. If God has the outcome already figured, some argue, why even try? What good are my efforts at doing the right thing? Or, faced with what is perceived as a plan that disempowers human beings, some will create a solution to the imagined problem by inserting themselves into the formula so as to make themselves the determinant of God’s plan.
Confused? Come on over on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. or sign in with Zoom to untangle this jumble with me. I can only promise to offer clarification or to muddy the waters further; didn’t expect that, did you?
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Your Worship Bulletin for Sunday, June 13 is right here. Either print the bulletin at home and bring it to church with you Sunday morning, or bring your smart device to the service so you can pull up the bulletin. Thanks for helping us reduce use of paper and toner.
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Today is the last day to register for VBS at St. John’s, June 21-25! With VBS just around the corner, we’ve got the famous “Very Special List With Odd Things On It” ready for you! If you’re new to St. John’s, the list details needed items to help nourish our VBS day campers. You can sign up here! Just a few spots remain, but the items are super important. Please bring all donations to St. John’s by Thursday, June 17. Thank you!
Catie and Cecil, VBS Coordinators
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Throughout COVID the announcements of upcoming events and classes have been at the back end of the Sunday worship bulletin. Many of you didn’t know the info was there and we’ve heard your comments! You can now find all the details on all upcoming events in our weekly e-blast. Click away!
Here’s an at-a-glance look at what’s coming up at St. John’s:
+ Baptisms are back! Contact Roger Bradshaw in the church office to learn the available dates.
+ Saturday evening In-person worship starts up June 19 at 5 p.m. Join us!
+ Book It On Mondays! starts meeting in-person June 28 on the patio of Christy Morinello’s home. The book: Home Sweet Anywhere by Lynne Martin.
+ VBS is Monday-Friday, June 21-25 from 9 a.m. to noon. Sunday, Jun 13 is the last day to register!
+ RSM Cares Food Pantry is tis Wednesday, June 16, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Drop food donations at our church office Monday through Friday.
+ Youth and Adult confirmations are coming up with Bishop John.
+ We’re looking for Acolyte families! There’s an easy training, and no age limit (but need to be able to carry a cross, gospel book, or candle)
+ Red Cross Blood Drive Sunday, June 27 in the Cardinal Gym, 8 a.m. — 2 p.m. Sign-up now.
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In-Person Worship Schedule:
• Evening Prayer or Compline ZOOM services continue to be held Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
• Sunday morning worship will be held in-person at church and on ZOOM at 9 a.m.
• Saturday in-person worship starts up again in the church on June 19 at 5 p.m.
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