107: Lent 5B (March 22, 2015)


For Sunday March 22,Ffifth Sunday of Lent, Year B.

SHOW NOTES -  3/22/2015
Episode 107  Lent 5B
For Sunday, March 22, 2015
Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 107 for Sunday March 22, fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B.

Introduction and Check-in  

  • Spring is here!
  • Prayer for Pastors! And their spouses - pastor spouse appreciation month

Quickfire Scripture - Hebrews 5:5-10 Christ the high priest

  • Major motifs: Melchizedek, Submission, Obedience
  • Jesus is both King and Priest: Melchizedek- OT Priest and King who blesses Abram in Genesis 14 (leading to the first mention of the tithe!) Melchizedek means Righteous King and unites the offices of King and high priest- interestingly not much is known of Melchizedek outside of Genesis 14
  • Jesus is both Divine (v.5-”Son whom I have begotten”) and human (v.7 - tears and suffering)
  • v.7 - Jesus was heard by the one who could have prevented his death- but clearly did not - how do we reconcile this?
    • God hears our prayers but does not always answer them in the ways we expect or desire
    • God hearing our prayers does not mean God keeps us from harm or pain
  • v. 8 Obedience and Submission - too often linking human submission and divine submission
    • Used to justify abuse over children, women and those who are powerless
  • Reclaiming this text:
    • People trying to make sense fo the death of Jesus- not that God willed Jesus’ suffering but was able to work through it for a greater good
    • Remember that Jesus is both human and divine which leads to God submitting. What does it mean for God to submit for the salvation of us all? (Reminded of Aslan from Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe). Not God sending Jesus to suffer adn die, but God submitting Godself in order to see what true faith is: non-violent love, grace and forgiveness.

Featured Musician - Rob Leveridge’s “Taste and See” from his album “Dancing on the Mountain.” Check out his new music video!

Primary Scripture  John 12:20-33 Loving and losing life
Initial Thoughts

  • “The Jews” - see this great bulletin insert by Mary Luti!!
  • v.21-23 -typical church bureaucracy :)
  • Explaining the impending death of Jesus - links well with the Behrew passage-how do we explain the death of Jesus?

Bible Study

  • Context: Holy Week, Passover- Jesus was anointed by Mary and has entered into Jerusalem (John 12:1-19)- the festival in v. 20 is Passover
  • “The hour has come” - this is the moment the Gospel s have been building toward
    • The crowds are divided between wanting to be with him or wanting to kill him
    • Surrender to God’s will (submission?- see Hebrews text above)
    • More about God’s Grace than humanity’s failing God moves to reconcile us from ourselves- not from original sin
    • Margaret A Farley - “the initiative for reconciliation comes from God's own self. The No of humanity, with its resulting radical incapacity to reverse itself, could be changed only by the Yes of God, but this Yes must rise also to God out of the genuinely human.” Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year B, Volume 2: Lent through Eastertide.
    • God reconciled Godself to humanity not by denying the suffering of the world, but by entering into it. Jesus does not skip and laugh on his way to the cross- his “soul is troubled”- yes God (not Jesus) is glorified.
  • Loving and losing life - individualism is not the Way of Christ - what is the meaning of life? like a grain of wheat - to live for others in community
    • The seed - abiding alone is pointless - abiding in the Spirit is eternal
    • hating life - life is “psyche”- soul, self - not about hating yourself, but about hating abiding only in oneself and not with others or with God
    • C.S. Lewis - “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”
    • Eternal life is declaring in word and deed “Thy will be done”
    • Sacrifice for the sake of God and others does not grant ourselves glory but grants God glory - sacrifice for sacrifice’s sake is not holy or glorified- sacrifice for God’s sake is glorified

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • Our [American] culture is consumed with self identity and self preservation - what would it mean to truly life for God- to truly live for others? How can we move beyond our fear of death from “let this cup pass from me” to “thy will be done”- from “save me from this hour” to “glorify your name”?
  • Is the church willing to die for the sake of God? How will we die? LIke a single seed or in giving new life to the world?
  • Are we willing to accept Jesus’ invitation to be drawn into the suffering of the world through the cross? Following Jesus  and serving Jesus (v.26) mean following Jesus up to the cross and into suffering of the world. Are we doing that? Are we willing to?
  • To resign the cross away as the pure will of God (instead of the humanity’s unwillingness to accept the radical love and grace of God) is, perhaps, to resign all suffering away as the will of God thereby absolving our responsibility to enter into it.

Psalm 51:1-12 with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Secondary scripture  Jeremiah 31:31-34 The new covenant
Initial Thoughts

  • Can you read this and not hear it through a Christian lens? Is it possible? Should we even try?
    • Clearly on the mind of the biographers of Jesus as they wrote about his passion and the last supper.
    • Clearly on the mind of those that divided the Bible into two halves labelled “old” and “new.”
    • No way that Jeremiah was predicting that the “old covenant” was somehow scrapped, or that that God was starting over.
    • No way that Jesus thought the same either.

Bible Study

  • Literary Context
    • Jeremiah begins with coming disaster, spans three invasions which resulted in destruction of Temple and exile. Also reaches well into exile period, and offers a way for people to survive, and ends with an open-ended future where hope may remain.
    • R.E. Clements, in Interpretation: Jeremiah casts serious doubt on this passage being authentic Jeremiah. “The promise is couched in the elevated language and style of the homiletical prose which marks much of the editorial and developmental material in the book” (p. 190).
    • In the middle of section known as “The Scroll of Comfort” 30:1-33:26.
      • Comfort in the midst of devastation
      • Stories of restoration, pointing to a future where the devastation has ended.
      • “It is as if, for a moment, the solemn tone of Jeremiah disappears. A closer look, however, reveals that despair and hardship have shaped the background for the words of comfort. Even images of restoration draw heavily on painful memories of the past… God grants a war-torn and exiled community a future when none seems possible.” Notes from The Common English Study Bible, p. 1257 OT).
  • The old and the new
    • The covenant may be new, but the Torah remains.
    • There is a new relationship, but the standards of God’s will remain.
    • The newness is about refreshing and renewal, not disposal.
    • The new, or re-newed covenant is new in the way it will be known kept by humanity, not in what is expected or willed by God.
    • “The assertion of a new, ‘keepable’ covenant in the place of one nullified and broken makes a claim for God’s own resolve and deep yearning for a covenant that overrides the painful truth of nullification. Thus, the decree of a new covenant is an act of God’s inexplicable mercy and graciousness.” (Walter Brueggemann, Texts for Preaching, Year B, p. 231)
    • The new covenant is not new participants. The covenant is made explicit in the houses of Israel and Judah.
      • Cannot use this as supersessionist theology.
      • God’s covenant is with the community, which itself will be renewed
        • Reunion of Israel and Judah a part of the newness, which is also old.
  • Nature of the relationship
    • God’s initiative alone
      • The covenant does not follow an act of contrition or repentance.
      • Renewal of covenant is entirely God’s action. There is no initiative of humanity, nor are there conditions.
      • Sins are forgiven and forgotten as a way to make things new.
      • “I will be their God and they will be my people” is an important reminder of the relationship, especially in midst of context that makes that very difficult to believe.
    • Written on hearts
      • Revelation is not held in the hands of a few
      • No dominant class, experts, or knowers of secret knowledge.
      • Knowing the Lord is analogous to knowing the Torah. Cannot know God apart from the Law.
      • Closely resembles Deuteronomy 6:6 (The Shema), which can help build the bridge to Jesus, who also connected his ministry to The Shema.

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • What makes up the new, and what remains of the old? This is a compelling question that the Church must continue to ask, and one that every church must engage. The essence of this passage is an ongoing relationship with God. The relationship itself is not what’s new, but the way we relate to God that is forever changing and being renewed.

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

  • Holy Week RoundTable featuring Casey Fitzgerald, Chris Davies and Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
  • Rob Leveridge’s new video for the song “Taste and See”

TY listeners
Shout Outs:

  • @BryanOdeen  “@PulpitFpodcast may be my favorite sermon prep resource at the moment. Funny guys and spotlight by @PoMoPsalmist. Preachers, check it out!”
  • Described by listener as “like a spiritual “Car Talk,” that is on NPR” 

Featured Musician:   

Thanks toourPsalms 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”.