Two of The Revised Lectionary Readings for Sunday, 6/21/2015 Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32 & Mark 4:35-41 (Psalms are written with italics, Gospel of Mark is in Bold)
Psalm 107:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, those he redeemed from trouble. 107:3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
Mark 4:35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”
Psalm 107:23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the mighty waters;
Mark 4:36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him.
Psalm 107:24 they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep. 107:25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
Mark 4:37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.
Psalm 107:26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their calamity; 107:27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards, and were at their wits’ end. 107:28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress;
Mark 4:38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Psalm 107:29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Mark 4:39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 4:40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Psalm 107:30 Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. 107:31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind. 107:32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
Mark 4:41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
I am often in awe of the correlation between readings from the Old and New Testaments. Written down physically, through God by man, hundreds upon hundreds of years apart and by different scribes or ‘author’s. Isn’t God Wonderful? Aren’t His works amazing? His Words and works are brought to life for us, whenever we need or want to read them.
I’m reminded of the traditional school of essay writing where student authors are often taught the 5 paragraph essay. The first paragraph is the introduction. It explains what the essay is about, what it is going to say. The middle three paragraphs are the body of the article. Typically it has 3 different points, one per paragraph, to support what the introduction states. The conclusion is the final paragraph, where the original intention is restated with proof or ideas from the body.
I offer you the analogy that God’s Word is presented similarly. The Bible consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament are the Words of God written before Jesus was born on Earth and became man. The New Testament was written after and about Christ’s life as man.
The beginning or Introduction of His ‘essay’ is the Old Testament. It tells us what is to come, foretelling our Savior. The body is the New Testament, the body of Christ. The three points in the three paragraphs being the birth of Christ, His life and His death. We are left, finally, with the conclusion.
“Where is it?” one might ask. “Didn’t God give it to us? Did He forget to give it to us?” I contend that we are the conclusion, His final paragraph. Studying His Word, praying, praising, passing it on to others, as we were told and shown to do through The Bible. The last few sentences are our final days, when the world as we know it, is over. It is the Last Word, the absolute conclusion. Or is it actually the beginning?
– Pheona Strassburg