183: Proper 18C (September 4, 2016)


183: Proper 18C (September 4, 2016)

image: Trueman, R.H.derivative work: CutOffTies (talk) - C014070k.jpg, Public Domain

Voice in the Wilderness: Philemon 1-21

Featured Musician - Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, “La Noche” from his newest album Trust

Episode 183 Proper 18C - (September 4, 2016)
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 183 for Sunday September 4, 2016, Proper 18, Year C.

Introduction and Check-in  

  • Glad to be back.
  • Heart attack fake out

Voice in the Wilderness: Philemon 1-21

Featured Musician - Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, “La Noche” from his newest album Trust

DONATE: www.pulpitfiction.us/donate

  • Erin Geoffrion
  • Bryan Odeen - Thanks guys for all the work you're doing to encourage, educate, equip, and entertain (sorry, when you're on an alliteration roll, it's hard to stop). As a seminarian serving in churches and now at a detached internship site for the year, this podcast has been a great source of fodder for preaching. I love the Psalm Nuggets, the Voices in the Wilderness, Rob and Eric, and the cheeky music. Keep it up!

Gospel Reading: Luke 14:25-33 Carry your own cross
Initial Thoughts

  • Luke 14:15-24 - People who were too busy or distracted to accept Jesus’ invitation

    • Definitely belongs with this passage
    • Ends this passage of choosing to follow Jesus- leads into the parables of the lost next week
  • “Your Cross you bear” crap- acknowledge it  and either preach it or move on, but acknowledge it!

Bible Study

  • The Cost of Discipleship

    • Jesus’ terrible marketing campaign continues
    • Cost - what we are willing to give up in order to acquire something - what are we willing to give up in order to follow Jesus, to be a student of Jesus?
    • Simple:

      • Hate family
      • Take up cross (i.e. be crucified)
      • Give up all possessions
  • So being a Christian means hating my family?

    • Call back to Luke 12:51-53
    • Think back to last week then the host is told not to invite brothers, sisters and relatives to the banquet, but the poor
    • Following Jesus means redefining family - when we begin to define who is our family- we necessarily define who isn’t. Jesus is constantly breaking down those barriers (cf. Luke 8:19-21)
    • Not about forsaking family - about following Jesus ethic of accountability, forgiveness and love in all our relationships.

      • Love the elderly in your community and congregation as much as you love your own parents
      • Love the stranger, the addict, the lonely, the prisoner as much as you love your own brother or sister
      • Love the children in your community who need school supplies and clean clothes as much as you love your own children
    • Prayer of Mother Teresa

      • People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
        If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
        If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
        If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
        What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
        If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
        The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
        Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
        In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.
      • (and the meh song adaption “Do It Anyway” by Ben Folds Five)
  • Take up your cross

    • Discipleship calls us to self-denial - not in a destructive way, but in a way which puts forgiveness, love and justice about our own self interests and even self preservation.
    • Especially hard for churches. We too often focus on survival more than mission
    • Take up your cross- be willing to die for the sake of the Gospel - goes against every natural instinct - it is the foolishness of the cross
    • Inherent in our baptism- dying to the old and being born in the new
    • If you are unwilling to do this, then your are unwilling to fulfill your baptism
  • Possessions

    • Seems like the easiest in regards to family and the cross, but think about how much time and energy are spent on possessions

      • Churches: Church buildings, capital campaign, denominational marketing, clergy robes, stoles, curriculums, etc
      • Personally: Homes (61% bigger than 60 years ago), cars, clothing, food, electronics, books, shoes, etc.
  • Trusting in God-ultimately this is what it is about

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • How honest are you about the cost of discipleship? Do you talk about it in your new member classes?
  • What is keeping you from following Jesus completely? What things, tasks, obligations, guilt, prides, overwork, goals or failures are keeping you from being a true disciple of Jesus? Are you willing to let those things go? Why or why not?

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist, patreon.com/RichardBC)

Second Reading: Jeremiah 18:1-11 The potter and clay
Initial Thoughts

  • Change My Heart” or “The Potter’s Hand” are lovely contemporary praise songs. Videos include peaceful videos of people throwing clay. Completely misses the point.
  • Isaiah 64:8 not much better. It includes: “But now, Lord, you are our father. We are the clay, and you are our potter. All of us are the work of your hand. Don't rage so fiercely, LORD; don't hold our sins against us forever, but gaze now on your people, all of us: Your holy cities have become a wilderness; Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a wasteland. Our holy, glorious house, where our ancestors praised you, has gone up in flames; all that we treasured has become a ruin.After all this, will you hold back, LORD? Will you keep silent and torment us so terribly?’

Bible Study

  • CBE calls this passage “The end of salvation history and its culture of privilege” (Common English Study Bible, p. 1207)

    • This is not the story of a fickle, angry God going back on promises. It is a story of willful disobedience. The people know, and they choose
    • Hope of God is that the people will turn. God intends good for the people, but as a response to their disobedience, he devises a new plan. God hopes that this plan will not be implemented. Parable of the potter at the wheel shows that God is hoping things can be fixed.
    • “The process of judgment may itself be the remolding of the spoiled clay. The pot will not work in its present shape, so the potter molds it back into a lump of clay and begins to work afresh with it… God is reshaping blemished clay vessel so that it is right in God’s eye.” It is not that God is discarding the clay entirely (Patrick Miller, New Interpreter’s Bible, v. VI, p. 716).
    • People’s response found in 18:18 “Come, let us bring charges against him, and let us not heed any of his words.”
  • Balance between Divine providence and free will.

    • God asserts the ability to “dig up, pull down, and destroy a kingdom or a nation,” but also resists using the power in favor of allowing people to cast their own fate.
  • As usual, describing what will happen if, not what will inevitably happen no matter what:

    • Remember the action that God wants for Israel: “If you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly with one another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, then I will dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your ancestors forever and ever.” (Jeremiah 7:5-7)
    • Immediately previous passage (17:19-27), Jeremiah is instructed to stand at the city gate and remind people of the Sabbath. He is ignored. Jeremiah tells them “if you are careful and obey me, declares the Lord, and don't conduct business at the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, if you keep the Sabbath day holy by not working, then through the gates of this city will come kings who occupy the throne of David… And this city will always be inhabited… But if you don’t obey me by keeping the Sabbath day holy… then I will set fire to those gates that will completely engulf the fortresses of Jerusalem.”

Sermon Thoughts and Questions

  • This metaphor isn’t really about cracked pottery so much as the smashing of a pot that never gets completely made, but still, the Japanese art of Kintsugi could be a good example. Also look to Jeremiah 19:10, because he’s not done talking about pots after this passage. This is the taking of a cracked pot, and repairing the cracks with gold. The metaphor of God filling in the cracks with grace feels obvious. See some examples and eplanations here: http://www.lakesidepottery.com/Pages/kintsugi-repairing-ceramic-with-gold-and-lacquer-better-than-new.htm
  • When a potter messes up, one has two choices - overlook the mistake and make do, or start over with a new piece of clay. God is choosing a third option, fixing the one God has: “The message from the potter’s house is that “God is faced with the task of working with positive and negative factors in order to shape Israel into the best vessel possible.”[5] The message from the potter’s house is that God will not ignore Israel’s unrighteousness” (Alphonetta Wines, Working Preacher)
  • The most important step in throwing a pot is getting it centered. Before anything is created of the lump of clay, it must be properly centered on the wheel or it is doomed. If we are all clay and want to avoid the painful crush of getting discarded, perhaps we should take some time to learn to get centered first. Center on what matters to Christ.

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

  • Lion and Lamb Festival http://lionandlambfest.com, Free event at Camp Milan Retreat Center on September 17. This is near the Quad Cities, but worth a drive.

    • Richard Bruxvoort Colligan and My Anchor Holds
    • Speakers about immigration, trafficking, domestic violence, much more.

Thank you listeners
A visitor to Two Rivers Church came and filled out an attendance card. In the place where we ask “How did you hear about Two Rivers?” they wrote in “podcast,” which is kind of cool. Unfortunately it was a Sunday I wasn’t there.


Featured Musician - Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, “La Noche” from his newest album Trust

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”).