128: Proper 15B (August 16, 2015)


For Sunday August 16, Proper 15, Year B

Featured Musician - Richard Bruxvoort Colligan,“God, Give Me Wisdom” from his album Seeds of Faith

image: from freakingnews.com

Episode 128 Proper 15B

Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 128 for Sunday August 16, Proper 15, Year B.

Introduction and Check-in  

Midfire Gospel: John 6:51-58 - Jesus Cannibals!

  • First Reaction: Didn’t we just talk about this last week?
    • “v. 48-50: “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.”
    • Now it picks up with more eating flesh and drinking blood.
  • The Common English Bible translation on “Human One” makes this passage sound gross.
    • A little more explicit than in the previous passage, but same general idea.
  • New Revised Standard uses language of “abide.” Those who eat also abide. This reveals a sense of living together - doing life together.
  • Common confusion about early Christian - whether or not they were cannibals
  • Live forever & eternal life is not about immortality but about living in the WAY of Jesus

Featured Musician - Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, “God, Give Me Wisdom” from his album Seeds of Faith

DONATE- Thank you to Stephen Hoggar

Second Reading - 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14 - David's Death and Solomon's Request
Initial Thoughts

  • One of 2 stories people know about Solomon- the other being the story of the divided baby- which won’t appear for another couple years in the lectionary (Proper 12A)
    • That story occurs immediately after this as an example of Solomon’s wisdom
    • Good example of Solomon’s wisdom- easy to use knowing you aren’t going to overlap next week
  • Great story telling exploration- looking forward to hear Story Divine on this one
    • What would you wish for?

Bible Study

  • Context:
    • David is now dead and Solomon is now King
    • 1 Kings 2:13-3:2
      • Adonijah, Solomon’s brother is executed
      • Abiathar, priest, is exiled from priesthood
      • Joab, David’s former general, executed
      • Shimei, executed
      • Solomon marries Pharaoh's daughter!
      • Builds the temple and a wall around Jerusalem.
    • There is no separation of Church and state in ancient Israel- religion is the state
  • Solomon’s response
    • Humility: “I am only a little child” (NRSV), “I’m your servant”
    • Acknowledgment of God’s actions: “You showed kindness”, “You’ve kept this great loyalty”, “You made me, your servant, king”
    • Can’t do it without the help from God
  • Wisdom
    • the ability to distinguish good from evil
      • How strange since this is the very thing Adam and Eve sought
      • Wisdom is not the problem, but intent. Adam and Eve sought to be God, Solomon seeks to be a better servant
      • Wisdom is something which can only be given from God, never taken
    • Focus on how to govern God’s people
  • Legacy
    • Solomon is set up as the best King that was or will be
    • Better than David
    • For tells the disastrous divided monarchy to come

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • Exploring the difference between intelligence and wisdom: Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit- wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad
  • Ask the congregation- what would you ask for?
  • As churches and individuals - are we focused on how best to serve God and serve people? Would we ask for wisdom? Or would we ask for balanced budgets and larger memberships?

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 111 with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist)

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Wearing God Sermon Series: Laboring Woman
Focus 1
Isaiah 42:10-14:

  • Deutero-Isaiah, when Judah was captive in Babylon.
    • “Deutero-Isaiah was written in the wake of this catastrophe [of exile], and the text aims to assure the exiled people that God has not abandoned them: God is present; God is at work.” (p. 135)
    • Context is of God doing a new thing.
    • First God is shown as warrior going to battle, about to prevail over opposition. then there is a pause, and now God is going to be like a woman screaming in labor.
    • This is a wild, vulnerable, dangerous, powerful God who is suffering through something new.
  • Breathing and labor
    • This passage looks specifically at the breathing and groaning of a laboring woman.
    • This is not an idealized, TV Sitcom birth.
    • The image of God lying prone, legs up, sweating, screaming, clutching, may not be a comfortable image of God.
      • Winner herself admits that when she pictured that, “I felt profoundly uncomfortable. I felt disturbed.”
    • Bellow, or groan is better translation than ‘pant.’
    • Panting and groaning are a way for woman to manage pain of childbirth.
    • “Isaiah gives us this groaning woman as a picture of the sovereign God, the God who is in control of redemption: God chooses to participate in the work of new creation by bellowing and panting. God chooses a participation that does not fight the pain, but that works from inside the pain.” (p. 140)
  • Music and labor
    • Music has been proven to be a soothing part of labor.
    • Many labor plans include the playing of music to help sooth the pain.
    • Singing hymns in church - is providing the music for God in labor.

Preaching Thoughts
“The image of God as a laboring woman puts together strength and vulnerability in a way that tells us something about God and how God works. The point is not just that God is vulnerable… the point is that in the struggles of labor, we can learn what strength is.” (p. 151).

Focus 2
Scripture: Isaiah 49:14-15

  • God as a nursing mother
  • Still in Deutero-Isaiah, when people are longing to know that God is present in their life.
    • God is so near, God is like a nursing mother.
    • Intimacy that is beyond physical
    • Child only lives because of Mother
    • Reminder of our radical dependence upon God.
  • A more popular metaphor in history, needs to be rediscovered
    • “The metaphor of nursing captured how Jesus sustains the church with grace and love” (p. 166).
    • According to historian Caroline Walker Bynum, “What writers in the high Middle Ages wished to say about Christ the savior who feeds the individual soul with his blood was precisely and concisely said in the image of the nursing mother.’ The Holy Spirit was described as being ‘sent from heaven like milk poured out of Christ’s own breasts,’ and prayerful Christians gazing at the crucifix in church were urged to realize that Jesus’ ‘naked breasts will feed you with the milk of sweetness to console you.’” (p. 166, Winner quoting Walker Bynum).

Preaching Thought:

  • Is there anything more full of power, vulnerability, and love than a woman nursing a baby? “Like the power of the nursing mother, the power of divinity is the power to comfort” (Winner quoting Elizabeth Gandolfo, p. 167).
  • Care must be given to note that laboring woman is not the only way that God should be seen as feminine. Too much of Christian thought has reduced women to their wombs and breasts, as if their only worth lie in what [boys] they could give birth to. Lifting up the metaphor of God as birthing woman does not have to mean that women without children are somehow missing their divine calling. This is a careful line to tread. It is important to lift up the power and divinity of femininity. Tearing down those without children is not the goal.

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

Thank you listeners and Shout-Outs

Featured Musician - Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, “God, Give Me Wisdom” from his album Seeds of Faith

Shout Outs:
Andy Shaefer: “You know, there's nothing to conclusively indicate that "the crowd" knew that any miracles had occurred. It seems only Andrew and, by assumption, the other 11 apostles knew just how much food they had started with. Could it not be possible, improbable perhaps, but possible that the seated crowd, caught up in the fun and excitement, enjoying a day out and reconnecting with friends and family they meet in the crowd, simply didn't think about where all this food was coming from? And John says "his disciples" got into "a boat," singular. One boat. Given the usual size of the kind of boat they would use, it is a logical conclusion that here "disciples" refers to "The Twelve." Thus, only Jesus' inner circle were privy to the walking on water. The Crowd seems a little muddled over when Jesus had arrived and just how they had gotten there, but Jesus seems to go straight to larger matters before they can learn of his night time aquatic constitutional.

Which begs the question, "just how many miracles do we miss?"”

Andy also asks, What is the title and author of the book which proposes the gospel of John as a Greek comedy?
A couple of articles we found:

Susan asks, “I love Pulpit Fiction. I do. I listen to the next Sunday's podcast on Sunday after church. I'm sold. But... is it me, or did this week's 2 Samuel discussion go on forever? Yikes, what's up with that? Again, I do love this podcast. Seriously, thanks for all you do.”

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”).