Sunday 1st July 2018
6th Sunday after Pentecost

2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43

(Alternatives: Lamentations 3:21-33; or Psalm 30)

The Old Testament reading records the words of public mourning that David intoned following the death of Saul and Jonathan. The various Psalms express in similar ways the sense of God’s presence in situations of struggle and despair. One way of engaging with these Scriptures might be to emphasise the importance and power of words, reflecting perhaps on great orators or famous phrases that have inspired or come to be associated with great moments or movements in history.

This provides opportunity to recognise and pray for people for whom words are an important part of their working life: authors, poets, lyricists, playwrights, speech-writers, journalists and similar professions. We might also think of those who, like David, provide words on our behalf to help us better express our feelings and emotions at significant moments and events.

Words continue to play an important role in our world; how and when they are shared is vital. David commanded that the words of his lament be taught to all of the people of Judah; there are those who disseminate words in our world today, printers and publishers; broadcasters and editors. A congregation might also reflect on the impact that words have in everyday life; words spoken to colleagues and neighbours can build up or destroy; some might at times feel under pressure to say things or portray issues in ways that are not entirely honest. The Gospel reading offers a powerful climax to this theme - the words of Jesus “Talitha cum” bring life - amidst the millions of pages of words that are available to us today, via the internet, social media, printed resources, books, leaflets and brochures, the life changing and life-bringing words of Jesus can still cut through them all.

Engaging more directly with the texts - there are clear experiences of bereavement, suffering, death and fear of death. So a congregation might be invited to pray and offer affirmation for those whose working roles provide support and comfort for individuals in such circumstances.