Lectionary Preview: Pentecost 8 (study on 14 July)

Lectionary Preview: Pentecost 8 (study on 14 July)

Lectionary Preview study materials:  Pentecost 8 (18 July)

(study on 14 July)
2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Psalm 89:20-37
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

The Collect

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Old Testament

2 Samuel 7:1-14a

When the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.

The Psalm

Psalm 89:20-37

Tunc locutus es

20 I have found David my servant; *
with my holy oil have I anointed him.

21 My hand will hold him fast *
and my arm will make him strong.

22 No enemy shall deceive him, *
nor any wicked man bring him down.

23 I will crush his foes before him *
and strike down those who hate him.

24 My faithfulness and love shall be with him, *
and he shall be victorious through my Name.

25 I shall make his dominion extend *
from the Great Sea to the River.

26 He will say to me, ‘You are my Father, *
my God, and the rock of my salvation.’

27 I will make him my firstborn *
and higher than the kings of the earth.

28 I will keep my love for him for ever, *
and my covenant will stand firm for him.

29 I will establish his line for ever *
and his throne as the days of heaven.”

30 “If his children forsake my law *
and do not walk according to my judgments;

31 If they break my statutes *
and do not keep my commandments;

32 I will punish their transgressions with a rod *
and their iniquities with the lash;

33 But I will not take my love from him, *
nor let my faithfulness prove false.

34 I will not break my covenant, *
nor change what has gone out of my lips.

35 Once for all I have sworn by my holiness: *
‘I will not lie to David.

36 His line shall endure for ever *
and his throne as the sun before me;

37 It shall stand fast for evermore like the moon, *
the abiding witness in the sky.’ ”


Old Testament

Jeremiah 23:1-6

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

The Psalm

Psalm 23

Dominus regit me

1 The Lord is my shepherd; *
I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures *
and leads me beside still waters.

3 He revives my soul *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name’s sake.

4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil; *
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.

6 Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


The Epistle

Ephesians 2:11-22

Remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision” —a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

The Gospel

Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.


Pentecost 8                   July 18, 2021                                                       Kristen Gunn


RCL: 2 Samuel 7:1-14a; Psalm 89:20-37; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56


2 Samuel 7:1-14a

The David story is an exciting story, full of twists and turns – well worth reading in its entirety. Even though this chapter doesn’t have the guts, gore, and drama of other parts of the story, scholars and careful readers have noticed that this passage presents the theological apex of the whole narrative found in 1 and 2 Samuel. Here, God promises to make David’s name great (v. 9), to “plant” Israel peacefully in their land (v. 10), and to build David a “house” (v. 11).


Some commentators suggest a play on the double-meaning of “house” (Hebrew: bayit) here. Originally, David had wanted to build God a house (vv. 2 and 5)—i.e., a temple for the ark. Now, God uses the same word (“bayit”) spoken through the prophet Nathan to say he will build David a house (v. 11)—only God seems to mean a house of humans: a dynasty. He then makes promises about David’s “offspring,” whom God will “raise up” from the physical line of David and whose reign he will “establish” (v. 12). “He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me” (vv. 13-14a).


  • What stands out to you about this passage?
  • In what ways does David’s “offspring” seem to refer to Solomon, and in what ways does the promise seem to come to full fruition in Jesus and in his church? Read John 2:13-22 aloud if time; see also 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.


Psalm 89:20-37

Psalm 89 as a whole is both a song of praise and an honest wrestling with God over how Israel’s history played out. This particular section sings of the promises God made to David in 2 Samuel 7 and reflects on them with faith and hope. It understands those promises as constituting a “covenant” (vv. 28 and 34) that God will not break. Other parts of the Scriptures seem to interpret the eventual disruption of the Davidic monarchy in 587 BCE as a result of God’s people’s failure to uphold their end of the covenant. But note verses 30-33: God says that if David’s descendants forsake the law—the way of life given to them as a gift by God—they will reap their own punishment, but even then, God “will not take” his chesed (mercy or steadfast love) from them, “nor let [his] faithfulness prove false” (v. 33). Elsewhere, one of God’s faithful people writes, “Even if we sin we are yours” (Wisdom 15:2), and the Psalmist sings, “Our sins are stronger than we are, but you will blot them out” (Psalm 65:3). Human sin and brokenness are never enough to stop God’s love and faithfulness.


  • Are there any ways in which these promises of God ring true in your own life? Have you ever experienced God’s steadfast love in the midst of brokenness?
  • Which verse speaks most to you in this psalm?


Ephesians 2:11-22

Through baptism into Christ, we become heirs of the “covenants of promise” (v. 12) and “members of the household of God” (v. 19). Everything promised to David and finally fulfilled in Jesus is granted also to us through our union with Jesus, begun in baptism and nourished and strengthened through holy communion. And in him, we are being built “into a holy temple in the Lord” (v. 21). God’s presence in the world, once specially concentrated in the ark of the covenant and housed in temple and tabernacle, is now in us (!) who are in Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, it is both already true and will become even more so what John the Revelator writes: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Revelation 21:3, ESV).


  • How does the “temple” (v. 21) written about here compare to the one David had in mind?
  • What does the cross (v. 16) have to do with it? If Jewish and Gentile Christians can be reconciled “in one body through the cross,” what does that mean for our situation of Christian division today?


Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

These verses of Mark’s gospel serve as a bookend for a “bread miracle” in which Jesus feeds five thousand people (vv. 35-44) and the episode that immediately follows in which Jesus walks on the sea (vv. 47-52). Taken together, Jesus’s invitation of the disciples into a “deserted place” (v. 31) followed by his miraculous provision of food and demonstration of power over the chaotic element of water all hearken back to Israel’s first wilderness wanderings with God (see Exodus 14 and 16). The comparison is no accident. The “many” (vv. 31 and 33) who are “like sheep without a shepherd” (v. 34) also figure importantly in these parts of the narrative. Twice we are told that the people “recognized” (vv. 33 and 54) Jesus, and far from ignoring or intently evading them, he has “compassion” on them, “teach[es] them many things” (v. 34), and heals them (v. 56).


  • What do you think the people “recognize” in Jesus?
  • What, if anything, can we glean from the people’s approach to Jesus and Jesus’ approach to the people?
  • Does anything else stand out to you in this passage?

Kristen Gunn is daily reveling in the joy and privilege of working on her Master of Theological Studies degree at Nashotah House. A Houston native, she fell in love with the Bible and Christian thought in high school and has ever since aspired to a deeper form of the devoted life. Before moving to Wisconsin, she earned a bachelor’s degree in religion and then taught ESL to refugees through an Episcopal fellows/internship program in Dallas. She loves the outdoors, mixing new kombucha flavors, and great conversations.