124: Proper 11B (July 19, 2015)


For Sunday July 19, Proper 11, Year B.

Featured Musician - “Working On a Building” by The Steel Wheels, from their album Live From Goose Creek.

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Episode 124 Proper 11B
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 124 for Sunday July 19, Proper 11, Year B.

Introduction and Check-in  

Quickfire Scripture: Ephesians 2:11-22

  • Just as David unites the Kingdoms, the writer of Ephesians sees Jesus as the uniter of all people.
  • There is something new in Christ that is not destroying what has come before, but is opening up a wider umbrella of God’s love.
  • Those who were once separate from the people of God, can now be seen as a part of one family.
  • “The detailed rules of the Law,” which can be summarized in the act of circumcision, are of secondary importance to the love of God.
  • The life, death, and resurrection of Christ broke the dividing walls. No longer must people be circumcised because now all are welcomed into God’s love.
  • Uses Temple language - a good reading with the 2 Samuel text. No longer about a house built with human hands. It is no longer about a building that can keep people in or out. Instead, the household of God is on the foundation of the apostles themselves, with Christ as the cornerstone.
  • The household of God is no longer walls. It is people, and all are invited in.

Featured Musician - “Working On a Building” by The Steel Wheels, from their album Live From Goose Creek.


Primary Scripture - Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 - People Recognize Jesus
Initial Thoughts

  • Lectionary Shenanigans:
    • 35-44 Jesus feeds the five thousand
    • 45-52 Jesus walks on water.
    • Neither feeding miracle in Mark is told in the lectionary (Mark 8:1-10)
    • Matthew version (14:13-21) is told in Year A
    • Luke version of feeding the multitudes is not in lectionary
    • Next week: John 6:1-21 is the feeding of the multitudes and walking on water.
      • It is as if the lectionary chose this passage as an introduction to John 6.
      • They treat John 6 as an extrapolation of Mark 6.
      • When we get back to Mark on the last Sunday of August, we pick up with 7:1
    • What we have left is a pretty stripped down story

Bible Study

  • Summary of what we have left:
    • 30-34: Apostles return to Jesus and report on their adventures. While they are trying to find some solitude, people see and recognize Jesus, and crowds form in spite of their effort to get some rest (and possibly mourn the death of John the Baptist).
    • 53-56: Jesus and disciples land in Gennesaret (after heading toward Bethsaida). People immediately recognize him again, and bring people from all around to touch his cloak (remember 5:21, the woman that just touched his cloak) and be healed.
  • “And he had compassion on them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd” (v. 34).
    • He had already showed compassion to the apostles themselves. They returned from their journey, and he is providing rest for them.
    • He demonstrated that he was a good shepherd by having compassion and providing rest for them. Then he saw the people, in need of a shepherd, and had compassion once again.
    • A clearly political reference to a people without a leader.
    • Stands in stark contrast to Hebrew Bible reading for this whole season - which is about the Shepherd boy turned King.
  • When the boat landed in Gennesaret, the people “recognized him immediately.”
    • This is in direct contrast to the disciples, who were confused by his power and presence, but this is lost in the reading as it stands edited by the lectionary.
    • What this passage reveals, on its own, is that the people were hungry - desperate for what Jesus offered. Even if they only recognized a practical need.

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • How is compassion a part of your ministry? How is compassion a part of the life of the church? Are programs and ministries driven by compassion? Is there a deeply-felt feeling-with? Or is it done in hopes of “getting people in the church.”? These things are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but if the goal is to “get people in the church,” instead of to care for a need of a people, then we are missing the mark (sin?).
  • Jesus does not question their motives. He does not spiritualize his help. He does not find out if they deserve his help.
  • The boat landed in Gennesaret, even though in v 45 it says that they were headed for Bethsaida. In the meantime, there is a storm (upon which Jesus walks). After the storm, they end up in a different town about 5 miles away on the north shore of Galilee. The storm, upon which Jesus so famously walked, and which he calmed, still blew them off course. They landed in a city they were not trying to reach, and yet when they get there they simply drop anchor and start doing ministry. And his ministry was everywhere - villages, cities, or farming communities.

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 89:20-37 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 7:1-14a - David want to Build a Temple
Initial Thoughts

  • Same reading from Advent 4B

Bible Study

  • Building
    • “...the King was settled in his house:”- Does God ever settle?- perhaps the rest of the story pinges on this first verse. Humans settle, but God doesn’t settle.
    • David’s reflection on the homelessness of God comes from a good place, but he comes to the wrong conclusion.
    • Confines God who cannot be confined (not by a building or a name)
    • Limits God to one place
    • Patricia Tull “It will not be David who establishes God, but God who establishes David”
  • Movement
    • God is constantly moving in this text (vv.6, 7, 8, 9)
    • Life with God is a journey- not a settling in
    • Jesus is also homeless and constantly on the move and moving others with him
    • God moves with us through life- through the valleys and the mountaintops
  • But there is still a temple vv.10-14
    • God provides for God’s people. God provides a house. God provides safety. God provides security. Any house for God is given out of thanksgiving, not to define who God is.
    • Israel will be “planted” it is a living, growing and thriving community- not a set building
  • Everlasting Kingship (v. 13)
    • Clearly not true - this does not happen- so what does it mean?
    • Perhaps it is about God dwelling with God’s people- when a King is no longer needed (or wanted)
    • Much is made of Jesus being of the lineage of David and Jesus teaches more about about the Kingdom of God than anything else. Perhaps this is God

Preaching Thoughts

  • What does it mean that God is homeless and chooses to remain homeless? How does that change how we see our buildings and how we view our homeless brothers and sisters?
    • see Luke 9:58
  • Explore what homes mean to people: security, safety, financial stability - what does ti mean that God rejects having a home/building?
  • If Jesus is Emmanuel, “God with us”, and we are the body of Christ, then God dwells within us (Ezekiel 27:37). How do highlight and celebrate that?
  • God did not demand a temple, not does God ask us to build churches, denominations or institutions. Do these religious settings help share the Good News of God in Christ or are they ways for us to control and confine God’s transcendence?

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

Thank you listeners and Shout-Outs
Marianne Paul- Weebly Comment
“Me, I always considered the story of Uzzah to be the first recorded case of clergy burnout. There was the ark containing all of the power and presence of the Lord God. The oxen stumbled and Uzzah knew that God needed his help to remain stable. ..... How many of us believe that whatever box we imagine is containing God needs us to keep it moving smoothly? I am reminded of a young pastor who was complaining that she was working too many hours. When I suggested that she turn over some of her jobs to others she looked startled. "But then it wouldn't be done right!" What would have happened if Uzzah had not reached out his hand? We'll never know. What will happen if we let go of our certainty that everything is depending upon us? There is one way to find out…”

Chris Strickland @ChrisstStrickla - Twitter

Featured Musician - “Working On a Building” by The Steel Wheels, from their album Live From Goose Creek.

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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