Year B - Pentecost +13 or Energy to Witness 13
August 26, 2015
1) In the first extension comes verse 6. Note here that the wings of the cherubim are above the ark, not on it—as in Indiana Jones. In Near Eastern art the wings of the cherubim represent a throne which places the ark as a footstool.
If this section is going to be used it would be helpful to note the “poles” for carrying the ark in verse 7. These poles are ready to move with a deity named “Freedom”. This quote from The New Interpreter’s Bible is helpful here: “.... In these ways, the ark is demythologize, and the mention of the poles for carrying it (vv.7-8) is part of a theological effort to move away from any misunderstanding of God as a king permanently enthroned in the Temple.”
2) If the focus is on the narrower reading, the word “Likewise” that begins verse 41 is warrant to bring in the elided verses (vv.31-40) where we hear expectations of individuals and Israel, as a whole, going astray and what it takes to return to a partnership with G*D and one another.
The end of this section is a key element both then and now—“Foreigners”. These are the ones who are very helpful in revealing who we are as a community. If a foreigner is welcome to G*D by entering into partnership with G*D it raises questions about the ways we have built our own privilege into the system and it is that privilege that eventually becomes brittle in defending every corner of its territory that leads to the understanding in (vv. 31-40) that we will go astray. Foreigners measure the spiritual maturity of a person and community. Foreigners carry potential evangelism of Israel and the world. Foreigners are a warning-canary in a too-settled community forgetful of a journeying partner.