103:  Lent 1B (feb 22, 2015)


For Sunday February 22, the first Sunday of Lent, Year B.

image: The cartoon was done for a Hallmark card in 2010 by Dan Regan. You can see more of his work here.

SHOW NOTES -  2/8/2015
Episode 103:  Lent 1B
For Sunday, February 22, 2015
Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 103 for Sunday February 22, the first Sunday of Lent, Year B.

Today's podcast is brought to you in part by audible.com - get a FREE audiobook download and 30 day free trial at audibletrial.com/pulpitfiction. Over 150,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player. One that we are both enjoying right now is Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.

Introduction and Check-in  

Quickfire Scripture -1 Peter 3:18-22  Thoughts about baptism

  • Glue that bridges Genesis and Mark texts
  • Conext: written to Gentile Christians who were suffering in part due to following Jesus and in part due to being slaves.
  • Suffering
    • Addresses suffering as a result of Christian living
    • You may suffer now- but you will be saved later
    • Jesus suffered even though he was faithful - he suffering is an example and through his life, death and resurrection (i.e. how he lived and died) all others will be measured - radical claim
  • Preaching thought - is the church willing to suffer or even die for the sake of justice and love?

Featured Musician -  Dan Holmes, “It’s Gonna Rain” from his album, Have a LIttle Faith.  More about Dan and his music at danholmesmusic.com. Follow him on Facebook.

Primary Scripture - Mark 1:9-15  Baptism and temptation of Jesus
Initial Thoughts

  • Mark 1:1-15….Beating a dead horse?
  • The beginning of Jesus’ ministry in a nutshell: Anointed, Tested, Proclamation

Bible Study

  • If this were a Star Wars movie- we would still be in the yellow text- important? Yes, but really just setting the scene for what is to come
  • Baptism
    • Directly connected to last week- Transfiguration
    • Why Does Jesus need to be Baptized? To repent (turn away) from sin or to repent (turn away) from the world (i.e. political power, institutional religious oppression, wealth, etc.)
    • Words are just for Jesus (we are voyeurs on a private divine proclamation)
    • Are the words of God to Jesus any different that they are to us in Baptism? Are we not the sons and daughters of God, redeemed and with whom God is pleased?
    • Does Jesus’ path then become our own?
      • How do we respond to temptation and what will our proclamation be?
    • “In whom I am well pleased” - allusion to Isaiah 42 - Suffering Servant
      • Isaiah 42 is OT reading for Lent 6
  • Temptation
    • No specifics - Jesus was tempted and Jesus resisted
    • Jesus is remaking the Israelite story- led into the wilderness Jesus resists temptation where the Israelites succumbed.
    • Wilderness
      • Jesus accepts the wilderness- does not complain against it but instead is content with the wild animals and the angels - unlike the Israelites who desires slavery and idolatry over the wilderness
      • Wilderness is not only a physical place but a spiritual place - to be tested and transformed. See this article for more on forest/wilderness symbolism in literature. Or The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton:
        • It would perhaps be too much to say that the world needs another movement such as that which drew these men into the deserts of Egypt and Palestine. Ours is certainly a time for solitaries and for hermits. But merely to reproduce the simplicity, austerity and prayer of these primitive souls is not a complete or satisfactory answer. We must transcend them, and transcend all those who, since their time, have gone beyond the limits which they set. We must liberate ourselves, in our own way, from involvement in a world that is plunging to disaster. But our world is different from theirs. Our involvement in it is more complete. Our danger is far more desperate. Our time, perhaps, is shorter than we think.
    • Isn’t this part of the basic human condition?
  • Proclamation
    • Repentance- turning away from temptation and our own personal sins, as well as the sins of the world (over importance, power, wealth, despair, apathy, etc)
    • Kingdom of God - used 14 times in the Gospel of Mark

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • If through Christ we are all sons and daughters of God, then how do we respond to that call? By resisting Temptation, accepting the care of “angels” and proclaiming prophetic good news?
  • Is our Christian calling much different that Jesus’? We are baptized- God claims us a beloved son or daughter. We are tempted- life is filled with temptation - we resist or repent from temptation. We are called to proclaim the good news of resisting temptation. This is not just a story about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, but is our calling.

Psalm Nugget
with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan: Psalm 25:1-10

Secondary scripture - Genesis 9:8-17  Covenant with Noah
Great song: God Said to Noah
Initial Thoughts

  • The worldwide flood is one of the most common stories in ancient history. That so many cultures tell a story of a worldwide flood has led some to consider theories for how such a thing may have actually occurred. This How Stuff Works article gives a pretty concise view of two main theories. Like most of these types of stories however, the truth and meaning of the story is not found in scientific fact-checking.
  • End of a familiar story that is probably less familiar than people think.

Bible Study

  • Covenant
    • This is the first covenant found in the Hebrew Bible, and the first of many that will be examined in Lent.
      • Lent 1 - Covenant of the bow
      • Lent 2 - Covenant with Abram
      • Lent 3 - Covenant of the Law
      • Lent 4 - Story of the bronze snake (bizarre)
      • Lent 5 - Jeremiah’s New Covenant
      • Lent 6 - Isaiah’s suffering servant
    • Act of covenant initiated by God.
    • All of creation included in the covenant - “every living being with you” (Gen 9:9)
    • The people are given the same command they were given at creation (Genesis 1:28), to “be fruitful and multiply. Populate the earth and multiply in it.”
  • God’s bow
    • The bow is a weapon, as in “bow and arrow,”
    • When God hangs up the bow, he is disarming himself.
    • Reminder of the hanging bow is a reminder to God that he will not lift up such violence again. It is a reminder that God’s way of “doing business” will forever be different.
    • Rainbow exists as a reminder that God has changed.
    • Just as all action of the covenant is initiated by God, all promises in the future are God’s alone. There is no action required by people, there is only a promise that God’s way of dealing with creation will never include destruction again.
  • Remember/Forget
    • Bad things happen when God and the people forget.
    • Reminders run throughout Hebrew Bible. People are told to “Remember what God has done.” God is told to “Remember the promises.”
    • Whenever people forget, they risk God’s judgment and anger.
    • Petitions in Psalms for God to remember include 9:12, 13:1 25:6-7, 42:9, 18-23, 77:9, 98:3, 106:4, 45. (Walter Brueggemann, Texts for Preaching, Year B p. 193)
  • Divine regret.
    • Genesis 6:6 “The Lord regretted making human beings on the earth, and he was heartbroken.”
    • There are a lot of implications about what it means for God to regret something. It is hard to hold onto an omniscient God and one that regrets as the same.

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • Hanging of the bow is an important reminder for those that think that the promise here is only that God won’t destroy the world “with a flood.” There is a strong strain of Christianity that envisions Jesus coming back as a warrior, ready to destroy those that have opposed him. This twisted theology is often wrapped in terms like rapture and tribulation, and was popularized and monetized by the Left Behind series. The promise of God lies not in the mode of destruction, but in the act. God is hanging up the bow - he is giving up that kind of behavior.
  • Question/Challenge why this is so popular with Children’s Bibles/nurseries. This, in a way, is a story that is outdated. It tells of a God that no longer exists. It is a reminder of how people thought of how gods acted in the world, but is also a foundation to how God is different. That God saved Noah and some animals (was it two of each, or seven of some?) ignores the fact that God then destroyed EVERYTHING else. People were disturbed by the Noah movie for many reasons. Maybe one is that they were expecting it to be a Children’s story.
  • The flood is such a rich story it is hard to capture in one week. For Lent, it must be seen as a larger picture of a journey to Good Friday and Easter. It is the initiation of the relationship between God and humanity. The flood waters did not cleanse humanity of sin. The humans are still created in the divine image, but are still going to be subject to sin. “That bow in the clouds is the sign of God's promise that whatever else God does to seek our restoration, destruction is off the table. An implication of this promise is that God will try everything else. God will seek us and seek us, despite or perhaps because of God's knowledge of every sin, every grief, and every shame that veils our vision of God's reality and of our own as God's creatures. Whatever dwells in our hearts that keeps us from hearing the harmony of all life in God's care, God will not give up on loving us into restoration” (Elizabeth, Working Preacher). In the framework of the beginning of Lent, we can see that God has promised not to destroy everything and start over, and we already know the path God has chosen to restore us to life. It is not the war bow. It is through his Son, the Cross, and the Empty Tomb.

Tasty Wafer of the Week: Pulpit-Fiction-Palooza!

TY listeners
Shout Out:

  • Casey Fitzgerald @caseyfitzgerald - Excited to find the Pulpit Fiction podcast! Awesome lectionary podcast--preachers, check it out!
  • Scott C. - Professor McGonagall would disagree about this Sunday being the only time we use the word "Transfiguration."


  • Dan Holmes, “It’s Gonna Rain” from his album, Have a LIttle Faith.  More about Dan and his music at danholmesmusic.com. Follow him on Facebook.

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist) Using Psalms in Lent? Check out Richard’s great album “Sharing the Road” the first album of the Psalms Project which is full of Psalm songs for Lent!

Thank you to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Summertime”) and The Steel Wheels for our transition music(“Second of May” from their album Live at Goose Creek) and Paul and Storm for our closing music, “Oh No”.


AllEric FistlerComment