Sunday 24th June 2018
5th Sunday after Pentecost

1 Samuel 17: (1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49; Psalm 9:9-20; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41

(Alternatives: 1 Samuel 17:57-18:5, 10-16; Psalm 133 or Job 38:1-11; Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32)

The story of David and Goliath is probably one of the best known in Scripture and is referenced in two of the Old Testament readings for today. It is a difficult story in our contemporary world; God’s presence and anointing results in one man being able to kill another. We might remind ourselves that this story belongs in a particular context, and that in Christ we believe there is fulfilment of the prophet’s words that “nation shall not take up sword against nation”. Yet for all that reality, we live in a world that is still wracked by war, and often there are difficult and troubling decisions that have to be made, even by those committed to peace. A congregation might pause to pray today for the trouble spots of the world, and particularly those military forces and commanders who are seeking to bring peace and provide safety.

With due sensitivity to its context, the story of David speaks of how he is equipped for the task through his daily work as a shepherd boy. A congregation might pause to reflect on how God has equipped them to serve the purposes of His kingdom through the skills and experiences that have been gained in the workplace. David’s whole life experience is a powerful reminder that any distinction between our faith identity and the work that we do is a false one.

The Gospel reading locates the disciples in a situation that for a number of them would have been familiar to their working lives. But they face storm that leaves even experienced fishermen terrified. Jesus has power to rebuke and calm the elements, begging the question “Who is this that even the wind and waves obey him?” There is a powerful reminder in this statement that whatever our profession, Jesus is its Lord. Yet for all this display of awesome ability, Jesus challenges his disciples, asking whether it was not sufficient that he was simply with them in the boat. For many in our congregations, work might be a torrid and stormy place; many might earnestly desire a pronouncement from Jesus that makes all things safe and calm - this story invites us to trust and find our peace from knowing He is with us, whatever the conditions.