104:  Lent 2B (March 1, 2015)


For Sunday March 1, second Sunday of Lent, Year B.

SHOW NOTES -  3/1/2015
Episode 104:  Lent 2B
For Sunday, March 1, 2015
Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 104 for Sunday March 1, second Sunday of Lent, Year B.

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  • The Last Week by John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg

Introduction and Check-in  

  • Ash Wednesday
  • Holy Week Round Table- have a question or topic you want us to cover? Comment on the blog, facebook, or Tweet us with #pfroundtable

Quickfire Scripture -Romans 4:13-25 Faith, Hope and Abraham's Example

  • Genesis, Psalm, and Romans text work well together.
  • Paul refers to the promises God made to Abraham.
  • Ties also to the Psalm, which does not mention Abraham specifically, but refers to future descendants who will continue to see God’s favor because God remembers. Paul speaks directly to those ‘yet unborn.’
  • Builds on the promise that God made to Abraham, which was initiated because of Abraham’s faith.
  • Faith is the starting point. It is the lynchpin to our relationship with God.
  • Faith though, is not just a coin in a wishing well. Faith in God is backed by God keeping God’s promises, not in God granting wishes.
  • Ultimately, the promise that was made to Abraham is manifest in God raising Christ from the dead, and it is a promise that we can be a part of through - you guessed it - faith.

Featured Musician - Newest addition to the Pulpit Fiction Playlist is Koine. Find them at koinemusic.com, where you can listen to all of their full songs. They breathe new life into traditional hymns by arranging them with modern instrumentation. This week’s selection is a classic Lenten hymn, “What Wondrous Love is This,” from their album Volume III - Church  Bells.

Primary Scripture - Mark 8:31-38 Take up your cross
Initial Thoughts

  • Passage has been used to keep people in bondage of suffering in abusive relationships. The words “take up thy cross,” can be a powerful tool of abuse. This doesn’t mean we need to abandon the language, but we need to be careful, and understand the ways Jesus’ words have been used for evil.

Bible Study

  • Literary Context
    • Come immediately after Jesus asking, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter proclaims “You are the Christ.” The part about Peter’s name being changed is not here. That already happened, without any fanfare, in Mark 3:16.
    • Comes immediately before the Transfiguration, which was two weeks ago.
    • Begins a new phase of Mark. Up until now, things were going relatively smoothly. There were miracles, healings, feedings. There has been some conflict, but nothing too serious. From here on, things turn darker. After Transfiguration, there are conflicts, arguments, and Jesus predicts his death two more times.
    • After this, we leave Mark in the lectionary until Palm Sunday (if you do Palm Sunday)
      • John 2:13-22 Jesus cleanses the Temple
      • John 3:14-21 Jesus tells Nicodemus he must be born again
      • John 12:20-33 Jesus teaches about his death
    • All three synoptic Gospels tie these events together (it’s kind of too bad the lectionary doesn’t):
      • Peter says “You are the Christ.”
      • Jesus predicts his death, Peter rebukes Jesus. Jesus rebukes Peter (not in Luke)
      • Jesus teaches about saving and losing your life - All must “take up their cross,”
      • Transfiguration
      • Jesus heals a boy.
      • Prediction about death/arrest
    • In all the Gospels, this is a part of a much larger story that is a transition. By Jesus’ own words, the story from here leads to the Cross.
  • Alternating Private/Public words
    • Public: Prediction of death and resurrection
    • Private: Exchange with Peter.
    • Public: Lose life to gain it.
  • Prediction of death and resurrection
    • Begs questions: “How much did Jesus know?” or “Was it Jesus’ mission to die?”
      • High Christology: Jesus knew from start exactly what was happening, and death on the cross was his mission from day one.
      • Low Christology: Jesus knew that the things he was teaching were not going to be tolerated. He knew, even provoked, conflict that led to his death, but the teaching and community he built was the mission, not his death.
      • Answering this determines much about the rest of Lent, and the way we see Resurrection.
      • If mission was to die, then it could be argued that resurrection is superfluous.
  • Exchange with Peter
    • Peter just made the declaration that Jesus is the Christ.
    • He’s about to tag along on Transfiguration
    • In between, he’s Satan.
    • “Get behind me” is in direct opposition to “Come after me,” which is what Jesus told Peter to do when they first met.
    • Peter’s mistake is in stepping out of order. Jesus demands that he “get back in line,” or simply, “let me lead.”
    • Satan, or ‘tempter,’ is briefly mentioned in Mark 1. Peter here is tempting Jesus to let up, to do less than what he was called to do.
  • Lose life to gain it

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • When do we feel temptation to take the easy road? When we’re called to a difficult task, there is inevitably a time when we wonder if it is worth it. We start to think of plan B, or some way to sneak away. I saw a poster a long time ago that said “The workout begins the moment you want to quit.” In a way, Jesus ministry really begins when he is first tempted to take the easy way out. Instead he reminds everyone that his path does in fact head straight for the cross.
  • When was the last time to left an extravagant tip. I don’t mean 20% on the bill with tax. I mean, a $20 tip on a $10 lunch, or even more extreme. There is a sense of great pleasure - almost euphoria. I remember leaving giving a waitress a Hundred dollar bill. The thought popped into my mind one morning. As I contemplated it, I grew really nervous. Finally, when I went through with it, I put the bill in her hand and said, “I want you to have this because last night someone was generous with me.” I walked away. Giving that bill away made me feel better than anything I could have bought. Spending money usually gives me great anxiety. Giving it away, however, was exhilarating.

Psalm Nugget with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan: Psalm 22:23-31

Secondary scripture - Genesis 17:1-16  Covenant with Abram
Initial Thoughts

  • Continuation of the Covenant OT Lent series
  • I prefer Gen 12:1-3...More about trusting God than genitile mutilation
  • v. 8-14 are about sealing the covenant with circumcision - must be included as it is humanities half of the covenant

Bible Study

  • God calls Abram in chapter 12, but the Covenant is not formally established until now
  • God’s action- God initiates the covenant with us
    • The word Covenant (Berith in Hebrew) appears 13 times in 17:2-22
    • implicit covenant: “walk before God and be blameless”
    • God’s promise is to Abraham and his offspring - does that include us? According to Paul (in the passage for today Romans 4) it does
  • God’s Promise:
    • Multitude of Nations
    • Fertility
    • Land of Canaan
  • Abraham’s Promise:
    • Circumcision - this is Abraham’s side of the covenant...not faithfulness, not love God and neighbor, but circumcision.
    • El Shaddai is a title given by the P or priestly writers in a context of exile and post exile
      • rebuilding- revealing the everlasting promises of God, lifting up evidence that God has not abandoned God’s people
      • Important for people who have seen the destruction of the temple and the loss of the land that God’s covenant was made before the conquest and temple and is everlasting (v. 8-9)
    • Circumcision calls for the embodiment of covenant- how might we embody our faithfulness to God?
    • Christians are “circumcised” through baptism - i.e. baptism is a sign of our covenant- but Baptism is not enfleshed as much as it is in-spirited. Does this matter?
  • Names:
    • God is given a new name: el Shaddai  - God Almighty - this is the first time this name is used for God.
      • Also translated as “God of the Mountains” (Craig Kocher, Feasting on the Word)
    • Abram (High Father) becomes Abraham (Father of Many)
    • Sarai (Princess of a family “lit. my princess) becomes Sarah (Princess of a nation)
    • Names are linked to the Covenant- Abram and Sarai cease being a couple or individuals but now are known through their relationship to a promised community and nation. Sarai will be Sarah the princess of a nation and Abram goes from being a childress “father” to Abraham the father of nations. How will this happen (v. 17) God Almighty (el Shaddai has promised it)
    • Being named by God inherently places God over Abram and Sarai - they are called to serve God not be served

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • Abram and Sarai are called into covenant as elderly persons. God does not write them off but seems in them the promise and parenthood of a priestly kingdom and holy nation - do we honor the elderly in our congregations as much as God does? God works in and through the elderly much more than the young - yet we choose to focus on the young (often at the expense of the elderly)
  • Are names still important? What is in a name? Do we expect people to live up to their names? What about our churches? Think of you community’s name- does it live up to that name? Should it? If God were to rename your community- what would God name it?
  • Circumcision calls for the embodiment of covenant- how might we embody our faithfulness to God? Traditionally Christians are “circumcised” through Baptism - but how else might we be covenanted enfleshed

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

  • Story Divine with Kathy Fitzgerald is a podcast dedicated to telling Biblical stories. Kathy treats one lectionary text each week with care and diligence. The best part of the podcast is hearing her tell the stories of Scripture. Have some people that do the reading in worship listen to how Kathy reads the Scripture.

TY listeners
Shout Out:

  • Kirk Hagan @kirkhagan “Fantastic podcast by @pulpitfpodcast this week for the 1st reading (Gen 9:8-17). Thankful for what they do!”
  • @VidGajsek, Rev. Kyle H Brown ‏@khbrofro, @RedeemedHustler, @DrHeatherHanna all gave us retweets for various links.
  • Deidox Films ‏@deidox “Got the sermon prep blues, Check out one of our partner podcasts @sermonsmith who interviewed @pulpitfpodcast”
  • Kevin Mooney, Facebook review: “Great insights, entertaining, and very helpful as the preacher encounters the text and begins to undertake this serious task of delivering words of hope, encouragement and grace each week.”


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”.