Reflection on This Week’s Readings

JUST AS WE ARE

Jesus spent a day beside the sea teaching, and then the disciples took him in a boat “just as he was” (Mark 4:36). These are easy words to skip past between the wisdom of parables and the stilling of the sea. After a day of teaching to the masses, Jesus was tired. Indeed, he fell asleep in the boat. Perhaps he was hungry. He was already being followed everywhere by an ever-growing crowd, given little time to himself for rest. It was Jesus, “just as he was,” who calmed the storm. This was not the transfigured Jesus or the resurrected Jesus, but the fully human (and fully divine) Jesus after a long day.

Psalm 139 reminds us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (v. 14). Yet we often struggle to let people encounter us just as we are. Some of us have been conditioned to believe that “just as you are” is not good enough, smart enough, or worthy of attention, credit, or love. Others have been praised for perfection and must strive to maintain that image.

Most of us have some way of hiding bits of ourselves and our experiences. This may look like a wall of silence and a minimum of words, or a flood of information that reveals no more than the silence. We have all learned to live with a mixture of our own secrets, doubts, fears, and hopes. Our public selves reveal some, but not all, of who we are.

What if “just as we are” is exactly where we are most powerful and most able to bless others? What if “just as we are” is where we are most able to bring grace and peace to our families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors? Come to worship today just as you are, and know that is right where Jesus meets you and calls you into service.

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READINGS FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
We continue going through Mark’s proclamation of Christ, hidden in the cross, in the Bible, in the bread and wine, and in the community.
We are in the “other boats,” and we are called to faith in God who, hidden in Christ, is the creator of earth who conquers our demons.
The theophany from Job is chosen to complement the narrative of Jesus stilling the storm. Jesus, the Son of God, is not merely a first-century miracle worker, but is the presence of God conquering evil from the beginning of time up until this week’s storms.
The semi-continuous reading of 2 Corinthians gives us today a passage that fits well with the first reading and the gospel. Paul’s listing of difficulties recalls the chaos of nature and the storm at sea. Today is the acceptable time to accept God’s salvation and thus to become servants of God for the needy of the world.
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