176: Proper 11C (July 17, 2016)


176: Proper 11C (July 17, 2016)

Image: "rotting_fruit" by istolethetv 

Voice in the Wilderness: Colossians 1:15-28 Casey Fitzgerald.

Featured Musician - Amanda Opelt “Go” from her album “Seven Songs”

Episode 176 Proper 11C - (July 17, 2016)
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 176 for Sunday July 17, 2016, Proper 11, Year C.

Introduction and Check-in  

  • Periscoping the recording of this episode. Linked to Robb’s @FatPastor twitter account. If it goes well, we may try it again.

Voice in the Wilderness: Colossians 1:15-28 Casey Fitzgerald.

Featured Musician - Amanda Opelt “Go” from her album “Seven Songs”

DONATE: www.pulpitfiction.us/donate

Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42 Mary and Martha
Initial Thoughts

  • Immediately follows last week’s reading and precedes the Lord’s Prayer- look for the connections

Bible Study

  • Immediately follows last week - so who is present? Jesus and his “disciples”

    • Who are the Disciples? Not necessarily the 12, but could easily include the 72!
    • Puts Martha’s aggravation in context
  • The issue is not between the contemplative listener and the dutiful activist

    • It is about doing what is needed in the moment

      • sometimes we need to listen - Mary
        sometimes we need to act - Good Samaritan
    • Rachel Held Evans - This passage is used to pit women against each other, as if there is a choice that needs to be made.

      • “If we censure Martha too harshly, she may abandon serving altogether, and if we commend Mary too profusely, she may sit there forever.  There is a time to go and do; there is a time to listen and reflect.  Knowing which and when is a matter of spiritual discernment.” (Craddock, Interpretation Series)
    • Being in the moment - focusing on God in our midst above duty and routine
  • Breaking down social barriers to do what is needed.  

    • Women were not allowed to sit at the feet of teachers, but Martha does because that is what was needed at that moment.
  • Faith is not about being the perfect host- which Martha is - it is about being open to relationship

    • Hospitality is more than invitation into the house- it is invitation into the soul
    • A willingness to listen and be changed by that relationship
    • “Activism without contemplation ends in aimless "doing" that usually aggravates existing difficulties...On the other hand, only the unthinking could fail to recognize the myriad ways in which thought—including very serious biblical, theological, and other scholarship—regularly serves the duplicitous purposes of those who, their rhetoric notwithstanding, simply do not wish to ‘get involved.’”  Douglas John Hall, Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year C, Volume 3: Pentecost and Season After Pentecost 1 (Propers 3-16) 
  • Triangulation

    • Martha is not focused on being hospitable or serving, she is focused on what her sister is not doing
    • Martha does not address the issue directly to Mary, but instead triangulates with Jesus who refuses to participate.

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • Do we focus on good programs or “preaching the Gospel”?

    • “Preach the Gospel at all times—if necessary use words.” - St. Francis of Assisi
    • “A church that has been led to be "worried and distracted by many things" (v. 41) inevitably will be a community that dwells in the shallows of frantic potlucks, anxious stewardship campaigns, and events designed simply to perpetuate the institution. Decisions will be made in meetings without a hint of God's reign. Food and drink will appear at table without Christ being recognized in the breaking of bread. Social issues may be addressed, but the gospel is missed in acts that partake of politics as usual.” - Cynthia A Jarvis, Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year C, Volume 3: Pentecost and Season After Pentecost 1 (Propers 3-16).
  • Triangulation is a big problem in many churches- this is a great opportunity to address it

    • Not about refusing to hold others’ accountable, but addressing issues directly
    • see Matthew 18 and Luke 6

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 52 with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist)

Second Reading: Amos 8:1-12 Bitter fruit
Initial Thoughts

  • Gallagher? The comedian who became famous in the 80s for smashing fruit with a big sledge hammer.

Bible Study

  • Literary Context

    • “Fourth in a series of four visions in the book of Amos and, like the third vision, this one carries a message of unrelieved judgment.”
    • “In some respects, a companion piece to 7:1-17 (from last week), in that both texts record visionary experiences of the prophet which become vehicles for delivering words of profound judgment.” (James Newsome, Texts for Preaching, Year C, p. 429).
  • Division of the text “verses 4-12 should probably be heard as a commentary on the vision, or perhaps a sermon inspired by the vision, and not part of the vision itself” (James Newsome, Texts for Preaching, Year C, p. 430).

    • V. 1-3 The divine vision

      • Basket of “ripe” summer fruit.
      • Time is “ripe” for God’s judgment.
      • Temple songs = Cacophony., unpleasant noise. When there is injustice, the songs of worship are not pleasing to God.

        • Reminiscent of Amos 5:23 “take away the noise of your songs; I won’t listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
    • V. 4-12 Amos’s proclamation concerning the vision.
  • Economic Justice - Amos 8:4 is the heart of the matter. Yes, this is an angry God, but why is God angry? “Hear this, you who trample on the needy and destroy the poor of the land”

    • Eager for Sabbath to be over

      • Not interested in honoring the Sabbath, just want it to be over so they can go back to business as usual. There is no repentance or transformation that occurs. They just go through the motions.
      • How many businesses today use Sabbath as a marketing ploy, or tell people that they are “keeping Sabbath holy,” and then actively work for injustice (I’m looking at you, Hobby Lobby).
    • Make the ephah smaller
    • Enlarge the shekel

      • “In the ancient world, units of weight and measure had not been standardized, so a "shekel" or "ephah" used in the markets of Jerusalem might be different than those employed in the markets of Samaria, or Damascus, or Tyre. This means a merchant might need to have different sets of weights in order to trade in different markets. But given human nature, the temptation to cheat the illiterate would often have proven irresistible. Conversely, the suspicion of merchants may have been in many cases unfair. At any rate, one can see that in Amos' day, untrustworthy market places were contributing to a sense of injustice.” (Rolf Jacobson, Working Preacher)
    • Deceive with false balances
    • Buy the needy for silver
    • Buy the helpless for sandals

    • Sell garbage as grain.

Sermon Thoughts and Questions

  • The Hardest Question: When is injustice so unspeakable that it demands violent response?    

    • “How do we respond when God expresses God’s concern for the poor through violence and threats of annihilation? I can try to explain away these violent threats of an unstable father, saying, “It was a different time;” or of course, “It was written by people, it is their perception of God, not what God is really like —it’s metaphorical.” I could do that, but I don’t want to. Why don’t we just condemn that kind of violent, threatening speech, no matter who or what it is in the service of.” Russel Rathbun.
    • Is there any wonder the powerful use violence to keep the weak on their knees, when God does the same? Is this what it means to be created in the image of God?
  • “Finally, justice and injustice are systemic. When a person participates in systems that create a more just social order, one is "doing justice." Conversely, when one participates in systems that create a less just social order, one is "doing injustice." Which means, of course, basically everyone is already both doing justice and doing injustice.” (Rolf Jacobson, Working Preacher)

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

  • #SMS16 Social Media Sunday September 25 (the last Sunday of September) Planning Group on Facebook

    • Information, resources, and tips about Social Media Sunday 2016 (#SMS16), an ecumenical effort to share the good news about building community with social media. Note: SMS is scheduled for the last Sunday in September until we no longer need to explain the value of #chsocm!

Thank you listeners

Featured Musician -Amanda Opelt “Go” from her album “Seven Songs”

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", "In Your Arms" 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”).