Signpost for Sunday 19 July 2015: 2 Samuel 7:1-14a; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56.
The gospel reading is rather a strange one. It is as if a complete lesson has been omitted from
Peter’s teaching to new Christians. What the prescribed passages do make clear is the irresistible
attractiveness of Jesus. The disciples, having returned from their mission, were intent on telling
Jesus what they had said and done but, surrounded by people, they were unable to find any peace.
So Jesus went away with them in a boat to find some solitude. They failed in that quest, because
they were followed. So Jesus, responding compassionately, taught the people. After some
remarkable events the disciples were sent away to Bethsaida, but were blown off course and arrived
in Genessaret. (More remarkable events on the way.) Again, Jesus responded with compassion,
treating all equally.
I wonder how this compassion is demonstrated in the lives of those who claim to be living the life
recreated through Christ.
One way this appears is described in the epistle. Here the apostle writes to the church in Ephesus
emphasising that all believers in Christ are one; all are members of the same commonwealth. The
word translated as commonwealth is used in only two places in the New Testament: the other is in
Acts 22:28, where it is translated as citizenship, a much-desired status within the Roman empire. It
plainly carried with it both rights and responsibilities. In the epistle the rights conferred included
reconciliation to God, access to God the Father, and reconciliation between those who were
previously hostile. The responsibilities include the expression of the reconciliation in the unity of
the whole structure, joined together and growing as a holy temple in the Lord – a dwelling place for