117: Trinity Sunday B (May 31, 2015)


For Sunday May 31, Trinity Sunday Year B.

Episode 117 Trinity Sunday, Year B
image: Created by memegenerator.com from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 117 for Sunday May 31, Trinity Sunday Year B.

Introduction and Check-in  

  • Festival of Homiletics
    • Roundtables
    • David Lose
  • Vacation Bible School?
    • Incorporate into worship?
  • iTunes Reviews
    • First two new reviews get a copy of The Divine Magician

Quickfire Scripture:  John 3:1-17 A visit from Nicodemus

  • We just had this scripture (or at least a good chunk of it) in Lent 4B and Lent 2A
  • Nicodemus - the marginalized - the one who is neither first nor last but in the night- the margins. How do we welcome those who are only willing to come in the night?
  • Born again- can also be trans. as born from above
    • gestating faith- think of everything that goes into birth: time, pain, joy, transformation - is “giving birth to faith” or “being born in faith” any less painful, joyful and transformative?
  • Have to address John 3:16 - while this passage has been used to exclude- in this instance it is about invitation NOT exclusion, Nicodemus is being invited in, not thrown out.

Featured Musician - Christopher Grundy, “Holy, Holy Holy” from his album Stepping In. Find more of Christopher’s great music at christophergrundy.com and follow him on twitter @ChrstphrGrundy

Primary Scripture - Isaiah 6:1-8 Isaiah Burns his Tongue
Initial Thoughts

  • “Here I Am Lord” hymn- based at least partly on this (and the calling of Samuel)
  • Immediately precedes the O Come, O Come Immanuel passage - MAKE THIS LINK!

Bible Study

  • Two parts of a Three part story:
    • Theophany of God (vv.1-4)
    • Calling of Isaiah (vv.5-8)
    • Prophecy (vv.9-13) not included in Lectionary
  • Why is this here instead of Isaiah 1? Isaiah’s prophecy (vv.9-13) specifically relates to the oracles of chapters 7 and 8
    • Ahaz is afraid and wants to ally with the Assyrians instead of trusting “Immanuel” God with us
  • Theophany - visible manifestation of God - What does this tell us about God?
    • “The year King Uzziah died” - died from leprosy in 742 which he contracted because he arrogantly decided to burn incense to God- a task assigned only to the priests (descendants of Aaron) 2 Chron. 26
      • God is not subject to Kings- even faithful Kings - Kings come and go, but God last forever
    • God is seen! This is extraordinary- rarely is God “seen” - most likely a dream
    • God is enthroned in Jerusalem - God is with Judah (Isaiah 7) not simply enthroned in heaven (Ezekiel 1:1-3:11; 1 Kings 22:19)
    • Only biblical mention of Seraphs- very little is known biblically, simply God is attended by supernatural creatures and then they cannot behold the glory and majesty of God
    • Holy, Holy Holy - Holy means “separate” or “other” - three times = Yahweh is the ultimate “other”
    • Hem fills the temple- rob was a sign of power and none can equal the power of God
  • Calling
    • Protestation - common (Samuel doesn’t recognize God’s voice, Jeremiah says he is too young, Moses rejects God’s call repeatedly)
    • Fear - Isaiah has seen what Moses and even Seraphs cannot behold - death is imminent
    • Fear is met with recognition and confession- both individual “I am a man of unclean lips” and corporate “I live among a people of unclean lips”
    • Confession is met with ritualistic purification - coal to the lips - specifically addressing his confession/sin
      • Moses needs proof he talked with Yahweh: is given a staff, given and cured of leprosy, bloody Nile water
      • Jeremiah cannot speak- God touches his mouth
      • Ezekiel given a scroll to eat
    • Seraph acts as intercessor - very priestly acts in response to Uzziah’s disregard of ritual
      • Ritual is important!
  • Answering
    • Only after confessing and accepting forgiveness can Isaiah hear the voice fo God- not through seraphs but directly from God
    • us” most likely referred to the Seraphs and unmentioned divine council over whom Yahweh in majesty reigns - think of a King asking the court - who will go for us

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • God calls us whether we like it, want it or not- in our weakness (unclean lips) God gives us strength. What is keeping you (or your church) from answering God’s call? How is God helping you overcome that obstacle?
  • Isaiah confesses both individually and corporately. What sins are we guilty of corporately and what are we guilty of individually? Are they separable?
  • God with us - in the midst of fear, in the midst of impending invasion, in the midst of dying Kings and unfaithfulness and uncertainty- God is with us. God is Holy and God’s ways are not our ways, but God is with us. How will we preach this while not watering down the fear, turmoil and need for confession?
  • God chooses to offer healing, purification and forgiveness not directly but through a messenger (Seraph). How might we be God’s messengers?
  • Forgiveness can burn us while making us whole

by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist)

The Pulpit Fiction Podcast is brought to you in part by audible. For listeners of Pulpit Fiction, Audible is offering a free 30-day trial and get a free audio book simply by going to audibletrial.com/pulpitfiction. There are a ton of books, 150,000 titles to choose from, including some great works by friends of the show Peter Rollins, Adam Hamilton and Nadia Bolz-Weber. We recommend Rachel Held Evans’ new book Searching for Sundays which is available on audible right now! Get it for free at audibleTRIAL.com/PulpitFiction. Again, support the show by going to audibletrial.com/PulpitFiction to start your free 30-Day trial and get a free audio book download.

Second Scripture -  Romans 8:12-17 Adopted Children of God
Initial Thoughts

  • The paragraph after this in Romans was the lectionary reading last week, so this is the prelude to last week’s much more popular passage of Romans (8:22-38)
  • Whenever a passage starts, “So then…” the previous paragraph should probably be read. Following the “So’s” backwards leads to the start of chapter 7, in which Paul starts this section talking about freedom from the law. “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you also died with respect to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you could be united with the one who was raised from the dead so that we can bear fruit for God.” This passage is a part of a two-chapter extrapolation of this thesis statement.
    • Dead with Christ.
    • Dead to Law.
    • United with Christ
    • United with Resurrection.
    • Bear fruit.

Bible Study

  • God’s Spirit Family (Paul Achtemeier, Interpretation: Romans, p. 137)
    • To be adopted into a family means that the adopted gains all rights, responsibilities, and privileges of being in the family. There is no differentiation between adopted and born sons and daughters.
    • The metaphor of adoption into God’s family is multi-faceted, and one which allows the family of Abraham to grow into the Gentile world.
    • “The letter to the Romans offers a contrast between the children of the Spirit and the children of the flesh. Children of the Spirit are adopted as sons and daughters and become heirs with Christ. Children of the flesh resist adoption. As in the legal process of today, there is a waiting period, according to Romans, before full adoption is completed. Suffering is to be expected with adoption, as those adopted become heirs with Christ who suffers. Yet the suffering is outweighed by the glory of the finalization of the adoption.” (Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, The Spirit of Adoption, p. 110.)
    • “Abba, Father,” is a term of close endearment, read “Daddy.” Only use in the Gospel is in Mark at Jesus’ final prayer before the passion. It is not translated into the other gospels, perhaps because it is such an intimate expression it made those authors uncomfortable.
    • Metaphor of Family of God is different than the metaphor of Body of Christ, yet that is often a popular use in congregations. Many congregations like to describe themselves as “family.” All too often, this means that they really like each other, but really don’t need anyone else. The metaphor of an actively adopting family opens up the love to all, and includes the possibility of the other because at one time we were all ‘other.’
  • To be adopted means to be let go of one set of parents, and adopted by another.
    • What we need to relinquish is self-centeredness.
    • Selfishness is the way of the flesh.
    • When selfishness is relinquished, it allows for Divine adoption.
    • “Those who by calling God “Father” enter his family are transformed in such a way that their former world is no longer their home. Ruled by flesh and its rebellion against God, that world cannot understand those who are at peace with God through Christ” (Achtemeier, p. 139

Preaching Thoughts

  • Can the metaphor of adoption be lifted up more often? “No other model better suits the church than that of the healthy adoptive family. Often through pain and disenchantment, the loving adoptive family releases certain expectations and embraces what they have been given. This is a profound act of love of which I speak, and it can be born of much loss and patience. There is also a great joy in loving freely.” (Stevenson-Moessner, p. 9).
  • Lift up the translation in CEB of “selfishness” over “flesh” of NRSV. In many circles, the term ‘flesh’ is about the body. Thus anything that has to do with the body, i.e. sex, is deemed sinful. To be of the flesh is to be sexual is to be sinful. This seems to be an unhealthy attitude toward sexuality. Instead, the CEB renders it “selfishness.” The sin of selfishness is what Paul talks about. Michael Curry, in his sermon at the FEstival of Homiletics said that the “opposite of love is selfishness.” Narrow, self-centered living is not life-giving. It leads to death. A life lived for the sake of others, that is self-sacrificing is a life that is authentic, real, and eternal. This shift from “flesh” to “selfishness” can open up a world of interpretation and re-understanding of Paul’s message.

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

TY listeners

Shout Out:
Scott C on the blog: “Thanks! for the Memorial Day liturgy. Following our Worship Committee meeting a few weeks ago we were not planning to do anything for Memorial Day I thought we would do some sort of acknowledgement, but was ok not doing anything ...as the GBOD site says, it is a civic holiday... Then I got a call today from my Worship Chair. Several have asked her what we are doing for Memorial Day. Then she told me that a few years ago, they had no observance and someone went to complain to the DS.
So, I'm looking for something simple that will acknowledge the sacrifice of those who have died without lapsing into Americanity.

Bill White

Featured Musician - Christopher Grundy, “Holy, Holy Holy” from his album Stepping In. Find more of Christopher’s great music at christophergrundy.com and follow him on twitter @ChrstphrGrundy

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist). 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(“Nola’s First Dance” from their album Lay Down, Lay Low) and Paul and Storm for our closing music (“Oh No”).

The Lion and Lamb Festival is seeking musicians and speakers. Already featuring friends of the show Heatherlyn and Sarah Renfro. Other participants can apply now. The Festival’s vision is to bring people together to inspire and be inspired by stories of peace, mercy, justice, and love. It is August 8, 2015 in the Quad Cities, Illinois.

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