181: Proper 16C (August 21, 2016)


Episode 181 Proper 16C - (August 21, 2016)
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 181 for Sunday August 21, 2016, Proper 16, Year C.

Introduction and Check-in  

  • Older episode with newer bits!

Voice in the Wilderness:  Hebrews 12:18-29 with Emily Ann Davis

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Gospel Reading: Luke 13:10-17 - Healing on the Sabbath
Initial Thoughts

  • Woman does not ask to be healed
  • Her immediate response is joy and thanksgiving to God (not Jesus)
  • Indignant- is this ever justifiable?
  • hypocrisy- able to see

Bible Study

  • What is acceptable 6 days, but not on Sunday?

    • drinking, frolicking, behavior unbecoming a deacon
  • Change- even good change can be scary or threatening

    • especially to those who are not oppressed, crippled by the status quo
  • Healing

    • happens when he touches the woman
    • similar to other social outcasts: leper, Widow of Nain’s son, hemorrhaging woman - all restored socially as well as physically

      • touch has a remarkable power to both heal and harm
    • The woman had become “visible” to the community- he restored their ability to see her

      • also exposed their neglect
    • The healing does not depend on her or anyone’s faith
  • Sabbath

    • God rested after creating everything and calling it good

      • in order to celebrate an appropriate Sabbath we need to be able to truly call our world good
      • Otherwise there is more work to do

        • releasing the captives
        • sight to the blind’
        • setting the oppressed free
    • Sabbath legalism used to promote slavery

      • “It was necessary to keep our religious masters at St. Michael's unacquainted with the fact that, instead of spending the Sabbath in wrestling, boxing, and drinking whisky, we were trying to learn how to read the will of God; for they had much rather see us engaged in those degrading sports, than to see us behaving like intellectual, moral, and accountable beings.” - Frederick Douglass, "Slaveholding Religion and the Christianity of Christ," in African American Religious History: A Documentary Witness, ed. Milton C. Sernett (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), 105.
      • The Pharisees were forced to see the woman as a fellow sister of God, not as an unclean outsider (less than their donkey or ox)

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • Do we worship God who proclaims liberation and reconciliation or do we worship a set of laws?
  • Do we view the law as binding or releasing- Sabbath should be a release to worship God fully, not binding legalism

Psalm Nugget:Psalm 71:1-6 Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist)

Second Reading:Jeremiah 1:4-10 - I know you
Bible Study

  • Where does the congregation recall these verses from Jeremiah first sounding in their regular hearing? - a way to acknowledge a well known verse without degrading the Spirit within it
  • Historic Context

    • Jeremiah started his work as prophet in 627-626 BCE.  
    • Was prophet during Josiah’s reign, during a weakening of Assyria and rise of Babylonians.
    • Series of deportations from Jerusalem started in 597.  The Exile came to a close in 538 BCE.
    • The Temple was destroyed in 587 BCE and Davidic monarchy came to an end.
    • Jeremiah’s career was one of dire warning to the people when destruction was immanent.  Despite his best efforts, Israel fell.  The book ends with words of hope to a people devastated by the effects of exile.
  • Calling of Jeremiah not out of his weakness, but of out his giftedness

    • Typical OT Call story elements:

      • God's initiating word (v. 5)
      • Objection (v. 6)
      • [Chastisement (v. 7), not standard in all call narratives]
      • Reassurance (v. 8)
      • Commissioning (vv. 9-10)
    • Jeremiah offers excuse: youth

      • God’s response, “Don’t say you’re too young. Just do what I tell you to do.”
      • Do we listen to our youth as potential prophets?
    • Similar to Moses’s excuse: not eloquent

      • God’s response, “It’s not about you.  I’ll give you the words”
      • Gives him Aaron to help.
    • God’s not interested in our excuses.
    • God calls us to lead from strength, and lead from relationship with God.
  • God’s call flows from God’s action in Jeremiah

    • “I formed you.”
    • “I consecrated you.”

      • “The declaration that God ‘consecrated’ Jeremiah - that is, set him apart to the prophetic task - is unusual.  This is the only place where it is said of a prophet.  It is commonly spoken of priestly designation, however.” (Patrick Miller, New Interpreter's Bible).
    • “I appointed you.”
    • “Prophet to the nations” is also unusual.  
  • Lection ends, but the next passage God “trains” Jeremiah, asking him “What do you see?”

    • Gives Jeremiah practice, warns him to “Gird up your loins.”
    • Role of prophet is often to answer question, “What do you see?”

Thank you listeners

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”).