121: Proper 8B (June 28, 2015)


For Sunday June 28, Proper 8, Year B.

image by Adam Shaw
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Featured Musician - “The Loving Hands of God” by Dan Holmes from his album “Something that Matters”

Episode 121 Proper 8B
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 121 for Sunday June 28, Proper 8, Year B.

Introduction and Check-in  

  • Thursday Night Special 2.10: Two Amazing Women!
    • Chris Davies Founder and Creator of Queer Clergy Trading Cards
    • Jenee Woodard, Founder and Curator of Textweek.com!

Quickfire Scripture:  2 Corinthians 8:7-15 -- Excel in generosity

  • Year Round Stewardship
  • Often overlooked, but great passage on stewardship boiled down the main points:
    • Give because you want to give- be joyful in your giving - the desire of willfully given gift is as important as the gift itself
    • Don’t worry about losing your wealth- Jesus lost his wealth for your sake
    • The idea is not to become poor so others can be rich, but that all would equally have enough - give as we hope to receive.

Featured Musician - “The Loving Hands of God” by Dan Holmes from his album “Something that Matters”

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Primary Scripture - Mark 5:21-43 -- A 12 year healing sandwich
Initial Thoughts

  • We skipped the story of the Gerasene Demoniac (unless you're episcopalian)
  • We are returning to Jewish lands after healing a Gentile and being driven out of the Gerasene
  • Be careful with healing stories
    • The woman is healed, but many faithful are not
    • Jairus’ daughter is raised but many children still die

Bible Study

  • Jairus
    • Leader of a synagogue
    • Powerful
    • Most likely wealthy
    • Male
    • Recognizes and has faith in Jesus’ authority over life and death
  • Hemorrhaging Woman
    • Hemorrhaging for 12 years - perpetually unclean (unable to even enter the synagogue)
    • Poor - spent all she had
    • Suffering under care of physicians and her condition is worse
    • woman
    • Recognizes and has faith in Jesus ability to heal
  • Jairus and the woman are seeming opposites- but they both believe in Jesus
    • What does this say about God? God is not interested in wealth, power, cultural patriarchy or social order - God cares about binding up the broken
    • Jairus professes his faith outwardly and the woman silently- yet both receive healing.
  • The woman “steals” Jesus power - she takes it without his permission, but she is not rebuked because the healing power and authority of Jesus is of God
    • How might we respond to those in need with our gifts- if all we have is truly from God, then what is it to give someone hope and healing?
  • According to custom- the woman touching Jesus would have made him “unclean”, instead it makes her “clean”- the Power of God turns the powers of social custom on its head
  • Raising the little girl
    • A private healing- Jesus kicks out the scoffers- he is only interested in those who are willing to hope, believe and enter into relationship with him and one another
    • She is as old as the woman has been sick - 12 years
    • Fed - a sign that she is not a ghost but truly alive

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • How can we encourage people to profess their faith and live it out both verbally and silently?
  • How do we respond when we are approached and touched by the “unclean”? Do we see it as an invitation into relationship or as a theft of our personal space?
  • Discern who are the unclean in your community. Who are the ones who are too embarrassed, too wounded, or too afraid to ask for healing? How are you welcoming them?
  • Discern the message of God’s hope in this passage when faced with the reality that people suffering from years of disease are not cured and children die and are not raised. Name the complexity- don’t dismiss or explain it away, but discern how else healing might take place:
    • Michael Lindvall tells a story of a good friend with Parkinsons in the last days of his life saying "I have been healed, not of Parkinson's disease, but I have been healed of my fear of Parkinson's disease." Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year B, Volume 3: Pentecost and Season After Pentecost 1 (Propers 3-16).

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 130 with 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 - 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27 -- David mourns Saul and Jonathan
Initial Thoughts

  • Mourning over Saul? The guy that wanted to kill him? Seems strange.

Bible Study

  • Previously on the Bible: David killed Goliath. Now all the sudden Saul is dead and, who is this Jonathan?
    • 18:1 “As soon as David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan’s life became bounded up with David’s life, and Jonathan cared about David as much as he cared about himself.”
    • 18:8-9 “Saul burned with anger. This song annoyed him. ‘They’ve credited David with tens of thousands,’ he said ‘but only credit me for thousands.’ What’s next for him? the kingdom itself?’ So Saul kept a close eye on David from that point on.”
    • 18:29 “When Saul knew for certain that the Lord was with David [after he had delivered to him 100 Philistine foreskins] and that his daughter Michal loved him, then Saul was even more afraid of David. Saul was David’s enemy for the rest of his life.”
    • Continued in-fighting between David and Saul. Sometimes together, sometimes not. David spares Saul twice. All the while there are Philistines to reckon with. Philistines overrun Israel’s army, kill three of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan. Surround and wound Saul, who then falls on his own sword to avoid imprisonment and torture.
  • The song itself:
    • Look how the mighty warriors have fallen (repeated throughout the song)
      • The fact that they are mighty warriors is lost unless you tell more of the 1 Samuel story.
    • Don’t let Philistines gloat.
      • They may have been rivals, but their common enemy remained the Philistines.
      • Practical danger in allowing the Philistines to know, for they could mount a larger attack if they knew the king and his heirs were all dead.
    • Creation mourns
      • The place where they died would be a place of mourning.
      • Battlefield graves. Hallowed grounds like Gettysburg, sites of massacres like Wounded Knee.
    • Jonathan and Saul’s relationship recalled, romanticized.
      • There were times when they were enemies.
      • Jonathan had ceded his birthright to David (18:4) and went back and forth between supporting David and Saul.
      • They in fact, were not united in life, but they did die on the same battlefield as allies.
    • Professional mourners
    • Grief over Jonathan in particular
      • Relationship between Jonathan and David is much debated.Was their relationship a covenantal homosexual union?  This article examines some of the textual evidence behind it. It makes a strong circumstantial case.
      • Even if not a sexual relationship, surely a friendship and a loving relationship.
      • Devotion Jonathan showed to David was against his own self-interest as a potential heir to Saul’s throne.
    • Look how the mighty warriors have fallen. Look how the weapons of war have been destroyed.
      • Repetition of ‘mighty warriors’ makes it start to feel sarcastic. There is a feeling of bitterness over the futility of war. “War, What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!”
      • “The strength of the refrain moves beyond a recognition of the tragedy of the deaths of Israel’s king and his son to a statement concerning the consummate sadness of war itself? (James Newsome, Texts for Preaching, Year B, p. 403)

Preaching Thoughts

  • Sunday after Father’s Day: How and why do we grieve over abusive parents? Often a child (even adult child) will grieve for a parent (or spouse) who was never supportive, never affectionate. There is grief, and often guilt, over the relationship that never really existed. There is a sense of lost opportunity, because often when we grieve over someone like this, we grieve over the ‘idea’ of the person more than the actual person. Often romanticize the dead, and forget the abusive/unloving times. Then the memories come, and there is guilt over thinking ill of the dead. This is all a complicated, messy, emotional experience. This is where we may find grace in David’s song. It is okay to grieve over one whom you wished you could have loved,
  • Relationship between Jonathan and David is clearly a deep, intimate one. Was it a homosexual relationship? Preaching this is a highly contextual choice. Some might take great comfort in seeing this relationship lifted up. Some would have great difficulty. In some contexts, letting the words speak for themselves might be the best approach “I grieve for you, my brother Jonathan. You were so dear to me. Your love was more amazing to me than the love of women.”

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

Thank you listeners and Shout-Outs
Featured Musician -  “The Loving Hands of God” by Dan Holmes from his album “Something that Matters”

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.