​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​SUNDAY, JUNE 16TH, 2024



The mustard seed becomes a great shrub that shelters the birds, recalling ancient
     images of the tree of life. We’d expect a cedar or a sequoia, but Jesus finds the
     power of God better imaged in a tiny, no-account seed. It’s not the way we expect
     divine activity to look. Yet the tree of life is here, in the cross around which we
     gather, the tree into which we are grafted through baptism, the true vine that
     nourishes us with its fruit in the cup we share. It may not appear all that
     impressive, but while nobody’s looking it grows with a power beyond our


O God, you are the tree of life, offering shelter to all the world. Graft us into
     yourself and nurture our growth, that we may bear your truth and love to those in
     need, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.


EZEKIEL 17:22-24
Tree imagery is used in a messianic prophecy to tell how the Lord will choose
     someone from Judah’s royal family (the cedar tree) to reign over all creation. This
     tree will be planted on Mount Zion, the location of the holy temple.

22Thus says the Lord God:
     I myself will take a sprig
     from the lofty top of a cedar;
     I will set it out.
     I will break off a tender one
     from the topmost of its young twigs;
     I myself will plant it
     on a high and lofty mountain.
23On the mountain height of Israel
     I will plant it,
     in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,
     and become a noble cedar.
     Under it every kind of bird will live;
     in the shade of its branches will nest
     winged creatures of every kind.
24All the trees of the field shall know
     that I am the Lord.
     I bring low the high tree,
     I make high the low tree;
     I dry up the green tree
     and make the dry tree flourish.
     I the Lord have spoken;
     I will accomplish it.


PSALM 92:1-4, 12-15
(Response) The righteous shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon. (Ps. 92:12)

1It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praise to your name, O Most High;
2to herald your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night;
3on the psaltery, and on the lyre,
and to the melody of the harp.
4For you have made me glad by your acts, O Lord;
and I shout for joy because of the works of your hands.
(Response) The righteous shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon. (Ps. 92:12)

12The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon.
  13Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
  shall flourish in the courts of our God;
  14they shall still bear fruit in old age;
  they shall be green and succulent;
  15that they may show how upright the Lord is,
  my rock, in whom there is no injustice.
(Response) The righteous shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon. (Ps. 92:12)


2ND CORINTHIANS 5:6-10 [11-13] 14-17
Paul encourages believers to live by faith and not by sight. We do not consider
     Jesus from a human perspective but through the eyes of faith, believing he died
     for all and was raised. All who are in Christ are now in God’s new creation.

6So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in
     the body we are away from the Lord—7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8Yes,
     we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home
     with the Lord. 9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to
     please him. 10For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so
     that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether
     good or evil.

     [11Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we
     ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your
     consciences. 12We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you
     an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who
     boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. 13For if we are beside
     ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.] 14For the love of
     Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore
     all have died. 15And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for
     themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

     16From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even
     though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer
     in that way. 17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old
     has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Alleluia. Welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the

power to save your souls. Alleluia. (James 1:21)

MARK 4:26-34

Jesus frequently uses parables to teach ordinary people as they are able to hear
     and understand. Images of sowing and growing show the vitality of God’s kingdom.

26[Jesus] said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the
     ground,27and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and
     grow, he does not know how. 28The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then
     the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ripe, at once he
     goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

     30He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable
     will we use for it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground,
     is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32yet when it is sown it grows up and
     becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the
     birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

     33With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to
     hear it; 34he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained
     everything in private to his disciples.

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