Showing posts from June, 2012

"David Mourns..." - II Samuel 1:1, 17-27

Read the text here: II Samuel 1:1, 17-27 Reflections on “David Mourns…” – II Samuel 1:1, 17-27 You might have noticed by looking at the Scripture citation above that we have jumped over lot of material between last Sunday and this weekend.   Last week we heard the story of David & Goliath in I Samuel 17 and this week we are at the death of Saul in II Samuel 1.   In the process we have skipped over chapters 18 through 32 in I Samuel.   From the standpoint of the lectionary I can understand this, but for the purposes of the story we are missing a lot that would help us to understand this rather odd text for today.   So in as few words as I can muster allow me to fill in the blanks a bit.   From the high point in the relationship between David and Saul when David kills Goliath things go from bad to worse.   David is brought into the home of the King where he soothes Saul, who seems to be suffering from depression and paranoia, by singing and playing the harp.

Reflections on the text – “David and Goliath”

Read the text here: I Samuel 17:1-49 Five Smooth Stones* Of all the stories in the Old Testament perhaps there is none which is as well-known and well-loved as this story of the little shepherd boy, David, defeating the big, well-armed Philistine champion Goliath. The entire construct of this story – the little guy defeats the big guy - has entered into our national consciousness and is often referred to when a small community, for example, is able to prevail over some large corporate conglomerate.  But there is a lot more to this story, so much more in fact, that it is impossible in one week to examine the story completely.  In preparation for this week I read a number of articles and sermons – one of the best is an essay on the nature of religious violence: “After He Killed Him, He Cut Off His Head: David, Goliath and Sacred Violence” by Dan Clendenin – find it at:   So, what is your experience with thi

David Anointed As King - I Samuel 15:34-16:13

Read the text here: I Samuel 15:34 - 16:13 Great Expectations The people had demanded a King and the prophet Samuel, the last of the Judges, had anointed Saul to be King over this tribal confederation that was called Israel. Now, at last, the people had a King, like the other nations that surrounded and threatened Israel’s security. Now, at last, a King would unify the country, provide the security they all craved and lead the people to be faithful to Yahweh. Well, that was the expectation at least.  But, somehow things didn’t quite work out the way they expected. The Philistines, the Amalekites and others were constantly attacking Israel so that it seemed like Israel was never secure and always at war. And when not leading the army Saul preferred to return to his farm in the land of the tribe of Benjamin.  No central government, no palace, no center of worship.  In short, King Saul was a total disappointment. He just wasn’t the kind of King the people wanted.  And more im

Israel Demands a King – I Samuel 8

Read the text here: I Samuel 8:4-20 This is the first sermon in the summer series on King David.  The lectionary has a continuous series of readings from I and II Samuel and I Kings.   Israel Demands a King – I Samuel 8 When you think of David from the Old Testament, what do you think of?   What kind of image comes up in your mind of this man?   David and his defeat of the giant Goliath, perhaps? David as the boy shepherd; or David as the singer and harp player? David as a pious, faithful man of God and a man whose faith was so strong that he was able to write the book of Psalms?   What about David as the outlaw and mercenary?   Or, David as the traitor, turncoat who allied himself with the Philistines against his people and his King (Saul)?   What about David as the bloody and ruthless dictator who never gave a second thought to wholesale slaughter if it fit into his own plans for advancement?   How about David the lustful King who preyed on women? David the

Reflections on the Holy Trinity

Here I Am, Take Me It is nice to be right.  And it is nice to know stuff that can back up our rightness.  The problem comes when an issue or question arises where there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer.  And this is often the case with questions of faith.  There is an experiential and a relational dimension which tends to mitigate the knowledge / facts part of the issue.  But yet Christians are often among the worst offenders in the “I know the answer, and I am right” approach to faith.  Now, of course I recognize that there are certain tenants of faith that we do hold on to and need to feel some confidence about.  But that is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about the tendency to take any issue that comes up, apply a cookie cutter paradigm to it derived from a very narrow reading of scripture and then to pronounce: “Here is the answer, I am right and this is God’s position!” But there are some things that we simply cannot know and despite our natural i