1st Reading (Track 1): 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27
At the end of 1 Samuel, King Saul and his sons, including David’s beloved Jonathan, lie dead at the hand of the Philistines. The way is open for David to become king (although he must still overcome some obstacles). Despite Saul’s mistrust of David and his attempts to kill him, David leads the public grief for Saul and Jonathan. Perhaps this is mostly for Jonathan’s sake, but David has shown respect for Saul as God’s anointed king, despite their tangled relationship.
1:1 After the death of Saul, when David had returned from defeating the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag. 17 David intoned this lamentation over Saul and his son Jonathan. 18 (He ordered that The Song of the Bow be taught to the people of Judah; it is written in the Book of Jashar.) He said: 19 Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places! How the mighty have fallen! 20 Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon; or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult. 21 You mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew or rain upon you, nor bounteous fields! For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul, anointed with oil no more. 22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, nor the sword of Saul return empty. 23 Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24 O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you with crimson, in luxury, who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. 25 How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan lies slain upon your high places. 26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. 27 How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
Psalm 130 (Track 1)
Psalm 130 is the lament of an individual whose situation appears to have been dire. Out of the author’s deepest suffering, he pleads for forgiveness in confidence that he will be heard, even if he must wait patiently.
1 Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord;
Lord hear my voice; *
let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.
2 If you, Lord, were to note what is done amiss, *
O Lord, who could stand?
3 For there is forgiveness with you; *
therefore you shall be feared.
4 I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; *
in his word is my hope.
5 My soul waits for the Lord,
more than watchmen for the morning, *
more than watchmen for the morning.
6 O Israel wait for the Lord, *
for with the Lord there is mercy;
7 With him there is plenteous redemption, *
and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.
1st Reading (Track 2): Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24
The Wisdom of Solomon is a book of the Apocrypha, a collection of books not included in the official Hebrew canon of Scripture, but which the early Church included in its Scripture. Anglicans set the books into a separate section called “The Apocrypha” and say they are helpful but not necessary. The Wisdom of Solomon is a collection of wise sayings attributed to King Solomon (although probably from much later). Our passage this morning is a reflection on the origin of death.
1:13 God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. 14 For he created all things so that they might exist; the generative forces of the world are wholesome, and there is no destructive power in them, and the dominion of Hades is not on earth. 15 For righteousness is immortal. 2:23 God created us for incorruption and made us in the image of his own eternity, 24 but through the devil’s envy death entered into the world, and those who belong to his company experience it.
Canticle (Track 2): A Song of God’s Mercy (Lamentations 3:21-33)
Lamentations is a group of communal laments over the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 b.c.e. They have traditionally been ascribed to the prophet Jeremiah, hence their position in the Old Testament following his book. Chapter 3 of Lamentations is an individual’s reflection on the meaning of the disaster, including some words of hope. This text is a liturgical adaptation of the above verses.
When I remember this, I have hope: *
by God’s kindness, we are not destroyed,
For God’s mercies are never-ending *
and are new every morning.
How great is your faithfulness, O God! *
“You are my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I hope in you.”
You are good to those who wait with patience, *
to every soul that seeks you.
It is good to wait, even in silence *
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good to bear in youth *
the yoke God imposes,
To sit silent and alone, *
clinging to hope, even when tasting the dust.
It is good to turn one’s cheek to those who hit it *
and to bear up under insults.
The Lord does not reject for ever,
but after sending grief, relents
In compassion and loving-kindness, *
not desiring to torment anyone.
Psalm 30 (Track 2)
In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, this psalm is entitled, “A song at the dedication of the temple.” It is a psalm of thanksgiving for healing. The one healed invites the whole congregation to join him or her in giving thanks. Verses 6-12 tell the story, beginning with the psalmist’s haughtiness in prosperity prior to illness.
1 I will exalt you, O Lord;
because you have lifted me up *
and have not let my enemies triumph over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried out to you, *
and you restored me to health.
3 You brought me up O Lord, from the dead; *
you restored my life as I was going down to the grave.
4 Sing to the Lord, you servants of his; *
give thanks for the remembrance of his holiness.
5 For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, *
his favor for a lifetime.
6 Weeping may spend the night, *
but joy comes in the morning.
7 While I felt secure, I said,
You, Lord, with your favor, made me as strong as the mountains.”
8 Then you hid your face, *
and I was filled with fear.
9 I cried to you, O Lord; *
I pleaded with the Lord, saying,
10 “What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the Pit? *
will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
11 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me; *
O Lord, be my helper.”
12 You have turned my wailing into dancing; *
you have put off my sack-cloth and clothed me with joy.
13 Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; *
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.
2nd Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
In our second reading, Paul speaks of a collection he is taking for the Church in Jerusalem and the surrounding region that is undergoing a time of famine. It contains some important stewardship guidelines. First of all, the gift must be a free choice out of what one has. Second, it follows Jesus’ own example. Third, it is a striving for a fair balance between one’s own needs and the needs of others. Above all, he says, make the gift with eagerness. The quote at the end of the passage is Exodus 16:18.
8:7 Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. 8 I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10 And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something—11 now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. 12 For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. 13 I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between 14 your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. 15 As it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.”
Gospel Reading: Mark 5:21-43
Our Gospel reading is two stories skillfully woven together: the healing of the woman with a hemorrhage and the raising of the daughter of Jairus, a leader of the synagogue in Capernaum. Both are situations were thought beyond help. Both characters come to Jesus in faith and Jesus commends their faith. One important aspect of the story is Jesus’ taking time with the woman with the hemorrhage even though he is in a hurry to the home of the synagogue leader. The marginalized are of no less importance than the powerful to Jesus.
5:21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24 So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” 35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
The Scripture quotations (except for the psalm) are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. The Collect of the Day and the Psalm translation are from The Book of Common Prayer. The liturgical adaptation of the Lamentations Canticle is copyright © 2007 by Church Publishing Incorporated. Commentaries are copyright © 2021, Epiphany ESources, 67 E. Main St., Hornell, NY 14843, www.epiphanyesources.com. All rights reserved. Permission is given to copy for group study.