this must be Tuesday Lectionary Leanings, Hijacked Edition.
Cheesehead is away at General Assembly (PCUSA), and I am leaping in to share a thought that came from a colleague in my lectionary study group this morning.
We have two great stories this week, David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17, various verses) and Jesus calming the storm (Mark 4:35-41). The latter gives us this wonderful verse —
And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. (Mark 4:36a, NRSV)
Those are my italics. So, just how was Jesus that night?
My friend shared the story of a couple in her church who offered her a cabin for the middle weekend of her vacation, having noticed that she was all in, but not telling her so bluntly. She imagined Jesus so tired that the disciples had to bundle him into the boat, the way we might a child who has had a long day. Mark’s gospel repeatedly refers to Jesus’ withdrawing for prayer and rest. Just as he was, he rested in the back of the boat, asleep on a cushion, so drained he is not wakened by the storm.
But just as he was, he retained the power to calm the storm, to the amazement of his disciples. And they began to get a sense of who he really was.
David approached Goliath, too, just as he was, saying “no, thank you” to Saul’s armor and picking up those five smooth stones from the wadi to use in his shepherd boy slingshot.
When I hear those words “just as” I am reminded of the old hymn, “Just As I Am,” a sinner’s song of approach to God. That’s one aspect of our faith, recognizing that we don’t deserve salvation based on the merits, any of us. But what if we turn that image around and find a different kind of encouragement in it? What is “just as I am” or “just as you are” is what we need to acknowledge in order to draw on the gifts and talents given to us by God in the first place?
What are you thinking about this week, lectionarily speaking?