171: Proper 6C (June 12, 2016)


171: Proper 6C (June 12, 2016)

Voice in the Wilderness:

Featured Musician - Heatherlyn “Invitation to the Unlikely” from her album  Heatherlyn.

Episode 171 Proper 6, Year C (June 12, 2016)
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 171 for Sunday, June 12, 2016, Proper 6, Year C.

Introduction and Check-in  

  • Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III

Voice in the Wilderness:

Featured Musician - Heatherlyn “Invitation to the Unlikely” from her album  Heatherlyn.

Donate: www.pulpitfiction.us/donate

  • Thanks Edwin Pease!

Gospel Reading: Luke 7:36-8:3 Woman at Jesus’ feet
Initial Thoughts

  • What did we miss? 7:18-35

    • John’s disciples wonder if Jesus is the Messiah - what do you see? Go and tell John
    • Jesus addresses the concerns of the “crowd” that the Messiah does not act exactly how they want or expect

      • Glutton, drunkard, tax collectors and sinners

Bible Study


    • Matthew 26, Mark 14, John 12 - anointing stories - this is not an anointing story
    • Similarities, but major differences as well

      • Matthew, Mark and Luke = Simon
      • Matthew and Mark  = Simon is a leper
      • John and Luke = anointing of feet
      • Matthew and Mark = anointing of head
      • Matthew, Mark and John = Bethany
      • Luke = Galilee
      • Matthew, Mark and Luke = unnamed woman
      • John = Mary, sister of Lazarus
  • Eats with the Pharisee - we often focus on how much time Jesus spends with lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, etc but we should not forget Jesus also spends a lot of time with Pharisees

    • Jesus eats with Pharisees 3 times in Luke (11:37; 14:1)
    • No evidence of any malicious or “trapping” intent on the Pharisee
  • Mary Magdalene is not mentioned in this story and should not be equated with the prostitute

    • Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great) is responsible for this connection in a sermon he gave ~591 CE: “She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. What did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices? It is clear, that the woman previously used the unguent to perfume her flesh in forbidden acts. What she therefore displayed more scandalously, she was now offering to God in a more praiseworthy manner. She had coveted with earthly eyes, but now through penitence these are consumed with tears. She displayed her hair to set off her face, but now her hair dries her tears. She had spoken proud things with her mouth, but in kissing the Lord’s feet, she now planted her mouth on the Redeemer’s feet. For every delight, therefore, she had had in herself, she now immolated herself. She turned the mass of her crimes to virtues, in order to serve God entirely in penance.” (Homily 33)
  • Scandal!

    • Two religious leaders in presence of a sinful woman with 2 very different responses:

      • Judgement of the woman and of Jesus
      • Grace for the woman (judgement for Simon?)
    • The Sinner extends hospitality when Simon does not
    • Jesus doesn't condemn Simon’s lack of hospitality until he condemns (in thought) the woman’s inappropriate actions and Jesus lack of proper response
    • Eroticism?

      • Possibly- but probably not
      • Woman should not let her “hair down” in the presence of men other than her husband
      • Feet is a biblical euphemism for genitals
      • Woman’s actions mimic and highlight Simon’s lack of hospitality:

        • Water for washing of feet - tears
        • Kiss of welcome - kissing the feet
        • Anointing after a journey - anointing feet
  • Parable of the 2 debtors

    • The woman is the one with a greater debt responding to forgiveness received
    • Simon is the one with a lessor debt but shows no gratitude because he does not recognize the need for grace
  • Women in ministry - story of contrasts

    • Whereas the woman in the preceding story is a sinner, these women are disciples
    • Giving to Jesus and joining him on the journey
    • Women who have left the trappings of power and comfort behind to follow Jesus

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • Do we recognize not only how we can help others, but how much we are in deep need of forgiveness?
  • Are we a church of saints welcoming sinners or a church of sinners welcoming brothers and sisters of Christ?

    • Fred Craddock, Luke. “Go in Peace” v. 50 - where? “The price of the woman’s way of life in the street has been the removal from the very institutions what carried resources to her...What she needs is a community of forgiven and forgiving sinners. The story screams the need for the church, not just any church but one that screams, “You are welcome here!”

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 5 with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist)

Second Reading: 1 Kings 21:1-21a Ahab kills Naboth
Initial Thoughts

  • Primary text for Christian Palestinians struggling with occupation by Israel.

    • Powerful King claims land by any means necessary
  • Lectionary selection actually ends before the urination bit, but we wanted to read it, anyway.

Bible Study

  • The Story

    • King Ahab wants Naboth’s vineyard. Offers to buy it. Naboth refuses. Ahab pouts.
    • Jezebel ridicules Ahab, then frames Naboth so that he is killed unjustly.
    • Ahab takes the vineyard.
    • Elijah hears about this, comes to denounce Ahab and curse him in the name of God.
    • After the lectionary text: Ahab tears his clothes and laments. God says, “Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster on his house.” His son, Ahaziah dies in the beginning of 2 Kings - a pretty painful death. The death of Ahaziah is one of the last things that Elijah oversees. In two weeks, we will read about the transition from Elijah to Elisha.
  • Lectionary context

    • Last week: 1 Kings 17:8-24 Elijah raises widow’s son.
    • Next week: 1 Kings 19:1-15 “Elijah flees from Jezebel.” Actually happened after the triumph over the prophets of Baal, which we talked about two weeks ago.
    • Lectionary makes it sound as if Elijah is running away from Jezebel after fearing her from this episode. This is not the case.
  • Nature of Power and Land

    • Land

      • “Our modern twenty-first century sensibilities prevent us from easily grasping the concept of buying land, just as it would be hard to explain the profession of a modern real estate agent to the ancient Israeli. Land was rarely bought and sold, and when it was done, it was only done to people within the kin. Even the royal land of Samaria was sold to a kinsman (see 1 Kings 16:24). Land was a gift from God, a symbol of provision and conquest. In a time with limited mechanisms to store wealth, land was the income, resource, home, bank account and retirement plan of the people.” (Roger Nam, Working Preacher)
    • Power

      • God’s will is for those in power to protect the powerless, not to use power to trample them.
      • Even Kings are not above God’s Law.
      • God’s law is to protect widow, orphan, stranger.
      • “Social injustice is not merely a horizontal violation of our fellow human. It is primarily a vertical violation of God by wronging his creation, made in his image. In other words, we tend to interpret this narrative of Naboth’s vineyard as social gospel, but really, the passage shows us that we cannot separate the social and the spiritual. Our relationship with God is reflected in the way we treat our fellow human who is made in God’s image.” (Roger Nam, Working Preacher)
  • Jezebel

    • Transcends Scripture, has become the model for the evil of womanhood.
    • Phylis Trible article

      • Elijah and Jezebel are presented as opposites.

        • “She is female and foreign; he, male and native. She comes from the coastlands; he, from the highlands. She thrives in a sea climate; he, in a desert climate. She belongs to husband and father; he, neither to wife nor father. She embodies royalty; he, prophecy. Both bear theophoric names that unite them in opposition: Jezebel the Baal worshiper and Elijah the YHWH worshiper”
        • Jezebel is the Proverbs 31 woman: “Who is Jezebel? What is she that Ahab so obeys her? Why, she is the good wife who supports her husband.

          • The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She considers a field and possesses it; with the fruit of her hands she secures a vineyard. She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong. (Prov 31:11, 12, 16, 17)”
    • “Jezebel Spirit” is used as a club against any woman that wants to take leadership, assert authority, or reveal talent, creativity. “Even so, when a woman in the church betrayed the slightest bit of leadership or giftings or callings, it became the quickest way to silence that feisty woman in question: accuse her of a Jezebel spirit. An unrelenting, power-hungry, manipulative spirit.” Sarah Bessey, author of “Jesus Feminist.”
    • Interpreters through history have blamed Jezebel, but Elijah and Yahweh do not. She is acting as a good wife, working for the King.
    • He allowed the act.
    • He was willing to turn a blind eye to the reversal of tradition and the perversion of God’s Law.

Sermon Thoughts and Questions

  • Who do we blame in a situation of injustice? The ones caught up in the scheming, or the one at the top. Do we blame the symptom or the disease? Do we work to end the systems of injustice and the power structures that set these things up?
  • “I don’t preach a social gospel; I preach the Gospel, period. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, ‘Now is that political or social?’ He said, ‘I feed you.’ Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.” – Bishop Desmond Tutu. There is no gospel beside the social gospel. How we deal with one another is how we relate to God.

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

Thank you listeners

  • Facebook message from Cheryl Kerr, who you may remember from our Festival of Homiletics Roundtables:

    • Robb and Eric!  Hey friends.  so I have a critique of your 1 Kings interpretation.  You talked about the widow's incredible hospitality.  I would agree it was incredible but not because she had such faith.  As a woman I think she invited Elijah into her home and let him stay out of fear - not abundant hospitality.  After all, what were her options?  She couldn't say go away.  It would be against the social power structure and could risk her and her son's life.  I wonder if a  point of the story is to tell the tale of our journey through fear to faith.  Just a thought. :)  Thanks so much for your awesome podcast - and the connection to Mencanstoprape.org!


Featured Musician - Heatherlyn “Invitation to the Unlikely” from her album  Heatherlyn.

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist, Support Richard on Patreon). 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”).