This week we note the people’s demand for a king in 1 Samuel 8:1-20 is about wanting a visible, tangible site for authority. God’s offer of intimate relationship with the people, trusting their discernment, is not enough; the people don’t trust God or themselves. God, mercifully, but with dire warning, grants their wish. We talk about the frailty of our human institutions – in society and the church, and what this reading might say about God’s view of us and our capacity. The Mark passage (Mark 3:1-20) throws into sharp relief our tendency to divide ourselves into ‘in’ and ‘out’, and shows that our human institutions will ‘fall’ under the grace of God’s kingdom. We note the divisions Jesus’ coming provoke, dismantling of traditional structures, and radical judgment for those who reject him.
We mention the story of the Tongan boys marooned on an island for 15 months in 1965, which is recorded in this Guardian article by Rutger Bergman, May 9, 2020.