Reflections Pentecost 6B
Bible Text: Mark 6: 1-13 | Preacher: Rev. Debra Schneider
Mark 6: 1-3
Mark’s gospel says that the people were initially, “astounded at Jesus’ words, his wisdom and his power;” but then
they began to talk amongst themselves, and to question his authority. And what was the basis of their
questioning? That he’s nobody special. We know his mother… his father’s a question mark… but hey, Joseph
stepped in pretty well. We know his brothers and sisters… they’re all here! Who does he think he is? And so it
went… and their hearts were hardened against him.. and their ears were stopped up.
And our scriptures call to us over and over again, saying, “You, if you have ears to hear… Listen!!”
Listen (by Bruce Sanguin)
when did we stop listening?
How did we come to believe
that we know everything
that is about to come out of the mouths
of our partners, children, and teachers?
When did the sound of a red-winged blackbird
cease being a source of delight for us?
When did we stop listening to our own lives
as sources of sacred revelation?
or for the strains of that yet-unformed future,
waiting to be born?
Grant us the Robin’s focus
that we might turn our ear—
and listen for the silent, sure stirrings
beneath the surface of things—1
“Let those with ears to hear, listen!”
Spirit God, Be Our Breath (verse 1 from More Voices #150)
Mark 6: 4-6
REFLECTION Astounded & Amazed
The people were initially astounded and then offended at his teaching; and Jesus, for his part, was simply amazed
at their unbelief. What is it that so often prevents us from hearing the good news of the gospel?
Over and over again, in the reading and exploration of our scriptures, Jesus paints a vision of a world made new.
And week-by-week we try to catch hold of it… or perhaps it is better to say, we try to let that vision catch hold of
us– to let it have its way with us.
Jesus called this vision the kingdom or kin-dom of God, the marks of which were and are to be found in the shape
of our relationships with one another and others; and in our willingness to listen to one another, to be attentive to
the world around us, and to respond to the wisdom of God to be found there—spoken not from on high, but rather
through ordinary people like you and me.
Jesus saw all around him and in everyone he met a world full of possibilities. Sadly, his own people, those
nearest and dearest to him refused to take hold of them.
Because the messenger was one of their own, they simply couldn’t believe that he could possibly have anything
of real value to offer them.
It must have broken his heart, their rejection. It must break his heart still. After teaching, preaching, and healing
throughout the Galilean countryside with amazing success; after gathering a group of faithful if slightly obtuse
followers; when he came home, when he shared his kin-dom vision with his very own family, with his oldest
friends, and the neighbours who surrounded him throughout his boyhood they would not could not receive it.
Because hey, “Isn’t he Mary’s son?”
And so he took his light and his wisdom and his vision and carried it elsewhere.
I wonder how often we miss the wisdom and gifts of the persons right in front of us simply because they are so
familiar to us? –How many times we refuse to listen to a word clearly spoken to and for us simply because we
know the messenger so well that we discount it.
We say, “Oh.. that’s just Suzi, .. or that’s just Don“ and before really listening to what Suzi or Don has to say, we
simply, and too quickly, dismiss her words.
Perhaps there is an invitation for us hidden in this passage… Perhaps it is an invitation to listen, to really listen
attentively when those closest to us speak to us from the heart.
There is a phrase that is sometimes thrown out to discredit something that has been said. We say, “Consider the
source,” which is exactly what we often do… at one level.
But, what if at least occasionally were to take the time to listen, and to truly ‘consider the source.’ Does this
person know us well? Does he or she care deeply about us? Might this word, their word, be a word we need to
“May we have ears to hear. Listen!”
Spirit God, Be Our Breath (verse 2 from More Voices #150)
Mark 6: 7-13
REFLECTION Be Prepared
I don’t know about you, but as a young American, I was a good girl scout, and our motto was, “Be Prepared!”
This admonition is deeply steeped in me. “Be prepared.”
I will hardly leave the house without checking to be sure I have anything and everything I might possibly
need… and enough money to cover anything I might forget. Earrings, check; watch, check; purse, check; iphone,
check; pen, check; computer, check; books, check; spare jacket, check. And that’s just to go from
my house to the church on any given morning!
What Jesus is instructing his disciples to do, as they go out to the surrounding villages, is not only
outrageous, it is absolutely radical. It goes to the very root of their and our faith. They are not only to travel
light, they are to go out on the road un-prepared! ..well, at least in terms of material comforts and needs.
They are to leave their usual check-list on the kitchen table, and pick up another. Faith, check; Hope, check;
Confidence, check; Compassion, check; Trust, check.
He is asking them to trust that those to whom they are being sent will recognize how precious is the treasure
they carry. They are to go out with the great good news of the Kin-dom of God, share it, and then place
themselves in the hands of strangers. They are to trust in, no, they are to expect the hospitality of strangers.
Listen to the words of Susan Palo Cherwin as writes of Trust.
Praise and Renunciation
Trust opens a way for us.
Trust allows the setting aside of childish things
Trust allows the setting aside of fears…
For upon us has the light shined,
and trust allows us to step into the light,…
What we renounce
What we leave behind
When we trust God enough to step into the light…..
What we inherit
is all that is good and
Spirit God, Be Our Breath (verse 3 from More Voices #150)
1A Listening Ear, If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics, Bruce Sanguin , 2010, pg 123.
2Praise and Renunciation, Crossings: Meditations for Worship, Susan Palo Cherwien, Crossings, MorningStar Music Publishers, 2003, pg 183.