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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, August 1, 2021

July 25, 2021
  • 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a
  • Psalm 51:1-13
  • Ephesians 4:1-16
  • John 6:24-35

This week, in 2 Samuel, we read the denouement of David’s most evil slaying of Uriah to obtain Bathsheba. As I read this story, remembering it was probably written hundreds of years after the events, I was struck by a parallel with the plea for God’s “continual mercy” in our Collect for this Sunday. Those authors of Samuel, looking back over their tumultuous history, yet revering David as a founder of their nation, describe David’s acknowledgement of his sin to God and, in the following chapter, God’s granting of a son, Solomon. Those Jewish authors knew that their Nation had sought and was rewarded with God’s benevolent care, albeit with David’s payment of a terrible price.

The Psalm appointed for this day could not be more appropriate, even though we pray it most often on Ash Wednesday. I like to imagine David, having absorbed Nathan’s message, crying out “Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Surely David would know the King James version!). This psalm, which I always find hard to recite since it demands an unconditional acknowledgement of my sins, includes several encouraging and comforting closing lines such as “renew a right spirit ....” and “sustain me. . .”

We Christians act within a Church rather than as part of David’s Nation, but we also must pray the Collect, asking for protection and guidance as we bungle along as members of the Body of Christ. Throughout history, the Church has done many things which we can only look back on with despair. Martin Luther (and many others, of course) had some serious truths to tell. Today we are faced with the truths being revealed for all to see about racism within our society. So, the Collect’s plea for God’s protection and guidance is essential as we participate in Trinity Church’s prayerful investigation of our own parish’s role in those uncomfortable truth. In order to understand the nature of those sins, we must pray that God “protect and govern” us as members of our Church.

Paul, writing to the Christians in Ephesus, has a similar message: “I . . . beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling . . .” He is helpful by clarifying that lives will be very different for each of us according to our gifts. But in the end, we must be steady and always speak “the truth in love” especially during our historical review of racism. - Chuck Medler

  • How might we best tell the truth in love about a racist pass, whether a personal view or actions of our Church, in a way that will heal rather than divide?
  • Are you able to identify when you are in the psalm’s “right spirit”? Does our church community contribute to or detract from that feeling?


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