166: Easter 7C (May 8, 2016)


166: Easter 7C (May 8, 2016)

Voice in the Wilderness: Christ Strickland on Acts 16:16-34 Paul and Silas in Jail

Featured Musician - Featured Musician - Christopher Grundy, “T.A.M.B.O.” from his album Come to the Feast

Episode 166, Easter 7C - (May 8, 2016)
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 166 for Sunday MAy 8, 2016, the seventh Sunday of Easter,  Year C.

Introduction and Check-in  

  • Mother’s Day!
  • We are going to Wild Goose!

Voice in the Wilderness: Christ Strickland on Acts 16:16-34 Paul and Silas in Jail

  • Chris Strickland a UMC lay servant at St. Paul UMC Gainesville, Georgia. I am a UMC pastor’s kid and school teacher.

  • Notes:

    • Actions are more important than words. Year C Easter has dealt with the things we do as much as the things we believe.
    • Not all of our actions are well meaning. Paul is tired. We get tired and sometimes we want to just tell people to shut up.
    • Paul's actions led him to a place he didn't want to be. But there is still ministry to be done in those undesirable places.
    • Paul never shies away from speaking the gospel of Jesus Christ, but this time it is his actions that leads to the conversion of the jailer.  
    • Probably more should be said about the singing, but I only had three minutes.
    • Be careful of the earthquake. The idea that God sent it could backfire. We don't know but people die in earthquake. Do we really want to ascribe that to our God?
    • We like to celebrate the jailer’s conversion, but it his family's conversion that more likely mirrors our own. We didn't witness the earthquake. We heard about it second hand. The main part is we saw the results. I can't see the wind but I know where it has been.

Featured Musician - Featured Musician - Christopher Grundy, “T.A.M.B.O.” from his album Come to the Feast.

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Gospel Reading: John 17:20-26 That They May All Be One
Initial Thoughts

  • UCC Motto!

Bible Study

  • Context!

    • End of the Farewell DIscourse- Jesus’ last words of prayer in the garden before the arrest
    • Jesus is praying to God, not talking to the disciples
  • Beyond the Disciples to All who will believe

    • This is not about the chosen few- but a blessing and invitation to all peoples
  • All may be one

    • Divisions constantly dividing the disciples:

      • Peter not wanting Jesus to talk about the crucifixion
      • James and JOhn arguing who sits at the right and left hand’
      • The disciples arguing who is the greatest
      • The disciples upset because others are casting out demons in Jesus’ name
    • Realistic?

      • Do we join Jesus in this prayer? Do we truly wish that the Christian church was one?
      • How can we begin to overcome Christian division? Conservative vs Progressive, Mainline vs evangelical, Congregational vs Episcopal, non-denominational vs denominational, E&R UCC vs Congregational UCC
      • The division of the churches is one of the worst witnesses to the Gospel
      • How can we hope to heal the world, when we cannot even heal the divisions in our own family?
      • To what extent can we have an authentic voice for forgiveness and reconciliation when we cannot be reconciled after centuries of division (and we continually reject new forms of the church- megachurch, Pentecostal, etc)?
      • Balance between prophetic witness and ecclesial unity
    • Reconciliation

      • “One in Christ, one in God, one in ministry and one in the world” - part of Communion Thanksgiving prayer
      • “It is a prayer for community. Jesus prays that, “all may be one.” To be a follower of Jesus is to be a part of a greater whole. According to Jesus there are to be no solitary Christians or spiritual “Lone Rangers.”…We are one in Christ whether we agree with each other or not. We are one in Christ whether we like one another or not. To become a part of Christ is to become a part of the community; a part of the one.”    Lucy Lind Hogan from workingpreacher.org.
  • Glory - what is glory?

    • Hebrews kabod - “Weight or heaviness”
    • Greek doxa - “opinion, judgement, honor, good reputation”
    • Fame and renown
    • If all we do is for the “glory of God” then all we do is to make God known in tyhe most authentic of ways
  • Be with Jesus where Jesus is

    • Odd request if we consider Jesus is on the precipice of arrest, torture and death
    • To be with Jesus in a Spiritual sense- confident trust in God (this is not a “let this cup pass from me” Jesus - see John 12:27-28)
  • They’ll know we are Christians by our love

    • We know God because we know Jesus
    • People know Jesus because they know us (Christians)

      • You are the presence of Christ! HUGE responsibility

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • Through the transitive formula (We see God through Christ (v.25), we know Christ through his followers (v.26) therefore we know God through Jesus’ followers)we reveal not only Christ but through Christ- God to the world.

    • What kind of God are you or your church revealing to the world?
    • How are you revealing, pointing to  or exposing the work of God in your community and beyond?
  • Who are you not willing to “be one” with?

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 97 with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist)

Second Reading: Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21 The End of the Canon as We Know It
Initial Thoughts

  • Lectionary takes out the scalpel this week. Takes out all the icky parts.

    • “The lectionary omits v 15 and 18-19, presumably because of their harsh statements concerning the judgment that will constitute Jesus’ repayment for the works of some. Understandably, the preacher needs to approach these verses with particular care, so that the sermon does not serve only to engender fear or worsen guilt. Deleting these verses, however, deletes a crucial piece of the apocalyptists’ worldview, namely dualism” (Beverly Gaventa, Texts for Preaching, Year C, p. 336)
    • Irony in the fact that the lectionary takes out the words that say “if anyone takes away from the words of this scroll of prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and the holy city, which are described in this scroll” (Rev. 22:19)

      • Words must be kept - and acted upon.

Bible Study

  • Dualism of Revelation - and all apocalyptic literature

    • There are two sides - good and bad.
    • There is Babylon and there is New Jerusalem. You cannot live in both.
    • There is the Lamb and the Beast. You cannot serve both.
    • There is going to be one winner.

      • For the winners: Perseverance, patience, hope, and joy.
      • For the losers: They are outside. Isolated from the love and worship of God.
    • Still though, the next verse is invitation. Those on the inside say “Come!” TO those who are thirsty, “Come.”
    • Even after the word of judgment has been spoken, there is still invitation.
  • Jesus will soon return - Immanence of the Parousia.

    • Revelation is not a book written to inspire fear or terror. But it is definitely written to increase a sense of urgency for our world. It is an apocalyptic wake-up call for each of us, precisely because there is hope for us and the world.” (Rossing, The Rapture Exposed, p. 170)
    • Revelation is a book that demands action and decision.
    • People must decide if they are going to follow the Lamb, or if they are going to follow the Beast, but hope is always extended.
    • In time of persecution, it gives people hope that if they hold on, things will get better. (Cue Wilson Phillips)
    • Live as if God is coming soon.

      • Soon and Near are relative terms that are difficult to define. Yet the message of Revelation is that Christ is coming soon, and in the meantime God is near. Nearness and Soon-ness are the defining traits of God, even when it does not appear to be the case.
  • 12-14 Favored are the ones who wash their robes

    • Connection to Didache and early worship practices
    • In Baptism, new followers “put on Christ,” by literally putting on a new robe.
  • 16-17 These words are from Jesus, whose descendant is David

    • Polemic against anti-Jewish backlash, and Jewish anti-Christian sentiment.
    • Establishes the deep connection of Jesus to God. This is not something new, but is rooted in Jewish people.
  • 20-21 Bear witness that Jesus is coming soon

    • To declare that Jesus is coming soon is to live as if he is coming soon.
    • To ask Jesus to come is to do as he commanded

      • To worship only God
      • To love your neighbor
      • To stand strong in face of persecution

Sermon Thoughts and Questions

  • “What is the message for Revelation for our world? Revelation is not about an inevitable doomsday for the earth nor about the Rapture. Revelation’s story is about seeing the LAmb beside you in every moment of your life - in the car, at the shopping mall, at work or school. Revelation is about looking more deeply into God’s picture and seeing how the Lamb is leading you even now into a world of joy and healing.” (Close of Barbara Rossing’s The Rapture Exposed, p. 171).
  • The Second Coming of Jesus is a topic often left unexplored. Since ‘we’ don’t talk about it much, ‘they’ have a field day with it. This is a chance to really explore what you think about what it means to say “until you come again in final victory.” Are we looking for Christ in a person, or Christ in the Kingdom of God fulfilled?

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

Thank you listeners
Thank you to everyone who enjoyed, used and shares our Prince-inspired Call to Worship last week:


Featured Musician -Featured Musician - Christopher Grundy, “T.A.M.B.O.” from his album Come to the Feast.

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 (“Sunday Morning”, "Real Ride" and “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”).