July 5, 2015
Mark 6:1-13
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10


Victory in spite of
Proper 9 | OT 14

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Frank Ramirez
Each one of this week's scriptures can be viewed as victory as God's will is done, yet these stories are also paired with sadness, defeat, disability, and/or pain. As I like to put it, no one rides free.

David fulfills his destiny from the time he was anointed king as a boy, but his friend Jonathan is dead, and a price has been paid. Paul rises to the third heaven and though he is reluctant to brag about it, his ecstatic experience is paired with an affliction which despite his prayers he is not healed from. Jesus commissions his disciples who cast out evil spirit and anointed many with healing, but his ministry to his hometown was a total failure.

Do we triumph because of our disappointments, failures, and disabilities, or despite them? David is king, Paul's joy buoys his ministry, and Jesus is fulfilling the work of the kingdom as God wills, but there is true sadness and heartache standing behind each story. That indeed is part of what Paul himself is suggesting when he says that God's strength is proven through his weakness!

How can congregations be challenged to acknowledge pain as an integral part of growth and failure as providing the seeds for future success? Any one of these texts might be mined on this basis, yet weaving them together might prove the point even more strongly!...

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