132: Proper 19B (Sept. 13, 2015)


For Sunday September 13, Proper 19, Year B

image: From Better Cross Stitch Patterns in honor of Luke Cooley
Featured Musician - “Mercy’s Tree” by Jennifer Knapp from her newest album Set Me Free

Episode 132 Proper 19B
image: From Better Cross Stitch Patterns in honor of Luke Cooley
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 132 for Sunday September 13, Proper 19, Year B.

Introduction and Check-in

  • Crazy week- sorry to miss last week
  • Brian McLaren coming

Quickfire Scripture: James 3:1-12

  • v. 1-4: Not many will become teachers for teachers will be judged
    • UCC- ordained as Pastor and teacher- what are teaching in our preaching?
    • Humbly claim the heavy responsibility of the ministry
    • In preaching, teaching and acting you may shape how one hears and experiences the Good News
  • Tongue is a small flame which can set the forest on fire
    • with destruction or with Spirit?
    • The tongue can be used to create (love, forgiveness, relationship) or it can destroy (with judgement, passive aggression, anger, stubbornness, certitude, etc.)
  • Freshwater or saltwater? Which will you be?
    • Too black and white? Too much of a dichotomy? Perhaps a question to throw out there and let people dwell on
  • “Cashiering in a supermarket may not seem like a very rewarding position to most. But to me it is. You see, I feel that my job consists of a lot more than ringing up orders, taking people’s money, and bagging their groceries. The most important part of my job is not the obvious. Rather it’s the manner in which I present myself to others that will determine whether my customers will leave the store feeling better or worse because of their brief encounter with me. For by doing my job well, I know I have a chance to do God’s work too. Because of this, I try to make each of my customers feel special. While I’m serving them, they become the most important people in my life.” - Maxine Dennis from Of Human Hands (edited by Gregory F. Augustine Pierce)

Featured Musician - “Mercy’s Tree” by Jennifer Knapp from her newest album Set Me Free


Gospel- Mark 8:27-38 Jesus the Cross bearer
Bible Study

  • Who is Jesus? Jesus and the Early Church by Willi Marxsen
    • Second of 2 times this litany of “who is Jesus” appears in Mark. The other being Mark 6.
    • When people encountered Jesus - they encountered the divine and respond in different ways
      • Positive: Son of Man, Son of God, Shepherd, Elijah
      • Neutral: Isn’t this the carpenter’s son from Nazareth
      • Negative: He is Beelzebub, blasphemer
    • Marxsen, “...all the names - the negative, the neutral and the positive ones - were the result of a process of reflection people engaged in based on the experiences they had with Jesus. Just as these experiences were different, so also people arrived at different names for Jesus.” (p.4-5, “Jesus Has Many Names”, Jesus and the Church by Willi Marxsen, Trinity Press International, 1992)
    • did not know how to respond they used the language at hand to interpret what they were experiencing: John the Baptist, Elijah, Son of Man, Son of God, Messiah, etc.
  • Scolding by and of Peter
    • How well we both understand and yet are blind to who Jesus is
      • Jesus is Messiah, but what does Messiah mean?
      • How many of this feel the same way about our calling? We may be called as ministers but do we truly understand what that requires of us?
    • A good passage to remember when we begin to make justifications about the survival of the church (eg: charging for rent, charging for ceremonies, who we let use the building, money spent within the church as opposed to outside the church)
  • Take up your cross and follow me
    • WARNING: text has been used to condone or excuse abuse for generations - name it, confront it and move on (unless that is your focus)
    • Is this Good News?
      • to follow Jesus requires sacrifice
      • When we are willing to sacrifice our comfort, our certitude, our judgements, our old vendettas - only then will the kingdom of God be realized- that is the Good News
      • Is Physical Therapy Good News? Heck no! but only through the hard work can healing happen. We are in desperate need of Spiritual therapy- and don’t kid yourself- it will be painful.

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • Who is Jesus to you? What is the name that you would give to Jesus and why?
    • “Elijah” = the one who comes before the end
    • Son of Man - a title given to David to herald a time of faithfulness for all God’s people
    • Messiah - the anointed of God set to save people from their sinful ways
    • John the Baptist - one who heralds the beginning of  the Kingdom of God here on earth
    • Bread of Life, Shepherd, Savior, etc.
  • What are we willing to sacrifice (personally and as a church) for God and neighbor?
    • are we honest about the sacrifice that being a follower of Jesus requires

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 19 with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist)

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Second Reading - Proverbs 1:20-33
Initial Thoughts

  • I have never preached from Proverbs before.
  • Thoughts on Wisdom Literature
    • Wisdom is international, universal, usually not tied directly to Yahweh:
      • “ Israelite wisdom literature does refer to Yahweh, the distinctive deity of Israel, but it does not imagine Yahweh as a mighty warrior set on punishing Israel's foes—or Israel itself, for that matter. Rather, wisdom literature speaks of Yahweh as primarily active and available in the realm of creation and the ongoing process of the natural world. Regardless of national or creedal affiliation, wisdom literature claims that perceptive individuals may discern Yahweh's desires by observing the universal manner in which the world is ordered. In this way, divine teaching is open to all people.”
    • Much wisdom literature seems like simple advice, but it grows from an underlying foundation of seeking order.
      • “The questions, "where does order come from?" and "how can humans locate, achieve and foster order?" underlie the books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. Scholars most often characterize wisdom as a project that sought to promote living in justice and harmony. When disharmony or injustice is encountered, it is generally understood either a result of the failure to live in accordance with the wise order with which God has infused creation, or it is a temporary discord aimed at restoring the harmony of justice “
    • Wisdom is often expressed as a feminine counterpart to Creator.
      • “Wisdom came to signify the unifying principle of order that undergirds the universe, and the sages believed that reflection upon the world could lead one to glimpse aspects of this principle. In Proverbs 1–9, wisdom was personified and pictured as a woman who stood alongside Yahweh at the time of creation”

Bible Study

  • Woman Wisdom
    • “Both an attribute of the Divine character and a virtue to be sought” (Perdue, p 79)
    • In a very public place, speaking very loudly.
    • Mocks YOU - those that have ignored her invitation
      • Paid no attention to outstretched hand
      • Ignored advice
      • Didn’t want correction
    • So I’ll:
      • Laugh at disaster
      • Make fun of dread
    • When inevitable disaster strikes:
      • I won’t answer
      • I won’t be found
    • Typical didactic at the end of the poem:
      • “The immature will die because they turn away; smugness will destroy fools. Those who obey me will dwell securely, untroubled by the dread of harm."

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • What does it mean to “dwell securely” (CEB) or to “live at ease” (NRSV)? This is the promise of wisdom. This can easily be twisted into Prosperity Gospel, but what does for Wisdom, “ease” is tied directly to justice. There is no way to live at ease in the presence of injustice. Seeking wisdom implies working for justice, which will remove dis-ease. This is not about physical illness. It is an ease that comes only from a right mind and heart.
  • This woman Wisdom is no meek, mild, silent woman. She is declaring boldly, noisily what is right. This should give pause to those that seek to silence the voice of women. Wisdom, the partner of God at creation, and source of the very order that was called out of chaos, cannot be ignored. Wil Gafney says, “ And when she calls out, it is not a genteel ladylike invitation; Wisdom is unacquainted with our stereotypes.”

Tasty Wafer of the Week:
Chautauqua Institution - Amazing lectures on Youtube

Thank you listeners and Shout-Outs

Featured Musician - “Mercy’s Tree” by Jennifer Knapp from her newest album Set Me Free
Website: www.jenniferknapp.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jenniferknappmusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jennifer_knapp
Our Interview with Jennifer

Shout Outs:
CCLP Cohort - I’m wearing the bike helmet   

Sabrina Jennings: I'm doing the sermon series on Wearing God and as I was looking around on Bible Hub, looking at the Isa. 11:3 verse, I discovered that the Hebrew word which can be translated as "accept, smell, touch, make a quick understanding of", is ruach. This sounded very familiar! So in this verse ruach is being used as a verb, but the ruach I was familiar with is ruach as a noun- translated as "breath or spirit". This is the word used to name God's spirit!
Are these the same word? Strong's Hebrew Dictionary has them as 2 separate entries, and ties ruach (verb) origin back to the word "reyach" meaning "savour"; ruach (noun) however has its origin from "an unused word".
What does it all mean??? Obviously these words are connected, but how much so?”           

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”).