193: Proper 28C (Nov. 13, 2016)


193: Proper 28C (Nov. 13, 2016)

Featured Musician - Eddie Vedder, “All the Way”

  • Various links and versions on youtube, including This One

Episode 193 Proper 28, Year C - (November 13, 2016)
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 193 for Sunday, November 13, 2016, Proper 28, Year C.

Introduction and Check-in

  • Has anything interesting happened in the sports world?

Featured Musician - Eddie Vedder, “All the Way”

  • Various links and versions on youtube, including This One

Notes on 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13

  • Listen to our podcast from 3 years ago on 2 Thessalonians (about 18:40 in)
  • Cannot remove 2 Thess from historical context

    • There is a challenging question surrounding 2 Thessalonians: “What significance does this letter have for the life of the church two millennia after its composition?  [It] plainly reflects an atmosphere in which believers are experiencing persecution.  The situation has become so intense that some believers cope with it by imagining that the “day of the Lord is already here” (2:2), while others refuse to participate in the world of work (3:6-16).  The author probably imagines that his enraged reminders about God’s inevitable justice will serve to comfort his audience; however, those same reminders sound a harsh note for readers removed from [its] time and situation.”  Beverly Roberts Gaventa (Interpretation: First and Second Thessalonians, p. 95)
    • Rep. Kevin Cramer quoted this verse in response to someone posting Matthew 25:36-43 on his Facebook page

      • Using this passage to moralize against the poor is to misuse the text.  This ignores the whole of Scripture that commands people to give away their wealth in support of the poor.  
      • This cannot be used as proof that poor people are lazy, and should thus be ignored (or worse).  The ultimate goal of this admonition is to bring the people back into the community.
  • First two chapters deal with outside pressure and reliance upon God.  Chapter 3 shifts to inner workings of the community

    • Warning against idleness and undisciplined

      • Beverly Gaventa, in Texts for Preaching, stresses that ataktos is about behavior that is “insubordinate or irresponsible” (p. 599).
      • Idleness takes the shape of eating the food of others, but it goes to a deeper motivation that is detrimental to the community.
      • Especially in times of persecution, both physical and economic, this behavior goes deeper than being “lazy.”
    • Unknown motivation for this behavior

      • Is it linked to thinking “The day of the Lord has come”? So there is no need to put in the work for a long-term commitment?
      • Are they so discouraged by persecution that there is no motivation to participate.
  • Being a part of the community requires something in return.

    • Appeals to “tradition,” of the apostles.
    • There are responsibilities that come along with being part of the community
    • Adam Hamilton paraphrase: “Your privileges are revoked upon membership.  You lose the good parking place. You lose the good seats.  You lose the good worship times.”
    • Michael Kinnamon paraphrase: “What is your responsibility as a person in the community to participate in the act of worship?  You are cheating others of your presence, gifts, and talents when you are not at the table.”
    • putting their own food on the table, not their table - the communal table
    • The question should not be, “Do I need to go to church today?” but instead, “Who needs me to be there in worship today?”
  • Being judgmental vs using good judgment

    • To a comfortable, middle class Christian, this seems like advice to be the worst kind of Christian.

      • Feel like passive-aggressive shunning.
    • Being judgmental is not a Christian virtue.  Jesus warned against pointing out the speck in your neighbor’s eye.
    • What about when one’s actions are detrimental to the community?

      • This advice does not include public shame
      • All directions are to reminders to keep the faith, not to admonish those that are struggling.
      • The “undisciplined life” includes “meddling in other people’s business.”

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Gospel Reading: Luke 21:5-19 Jesus predicts destruction of the Temple
Initial Thoughts

  • Apocalypse Review. Insert Cubs/Indians World Series Champion joke here.  (From Fred Craddock, Interpretation: A Bible commentary  for preaching and teaching, Luke)

    • Means “revealed,” as in the source of writing is otherworldly.
    • Focus on eschatology - the end of the world as we now experience it.
    • Discloses the supernatural world bond the world of historical events.
    • Triggered by major historical crises.

      • “The destruction of the Temple is the historical event that prompted the apocalyptic speech of Jesus in the text before us… In other words, in an apocalypse of this type, what is going on is mixed with what is really going on, history being set in the larger context of God’s purpose, the whole being an extraordinary writing with historical descriptions laced with symbols, signs, and mysterious figures of speech.” (Craddock, p. 243)
  • In two weeks we will deal with more Jesus apocalypse stuff in Matthew with first week of Advent.

Bible Study

  • Literary Context

    • Mark 13 is a source.
    • Part of a larger discourse that runs until v. 38.
    • Comes right after conflict with Sadducees (Temple authority), condemning the legal experts, and seeing the poor widow give money to the Temple.

      • Just spent the greater part of the chapter in conflict with the structures of power - Temple authority and legal authority. Then sees woman giving “from her hopeless poverty.”
    • Prompted by remarks of “some,” not necessarily the disciples. After spending so much time in conflict with authority, hears someone praising the main symbol of that authority. This sparks the rest of the passage.
    • The next passage is about the fig tree, which in Mark is tied directly to the prediction of the destruction of the Temple.
    • Then Chapter 22, “The chief priests and the legal experts were looking for a way to kill Jesus.”
  • Luke 17:20-37 has already discussed parousia. This attaches it directly to destruction of Temple. “They” respond with two questions:

    • When?
    • Will there be a warning?
  • What is going to happen? In order:

    • War
    • Earthquake
    • Famine and epidemic
    • Signs in the sky.
  • But before this:

    • Take you into custody and harass you because of your faith.
    • Hand you to prisons because of my name.
    • Provide you a chance to testify (which happens in Acts)
    • Family discord.
    • Executions for some.
    • Hatred, communal scorn.
    • “Still not a hair on your heads will be lost. By holding fast, you will gain your lives.”

      • Seems to contradict what he just said. “Verses 16 and 17 make verse 18 difficult, creating what seems to be a contradiction… Verse 18 is not fulfilled in Acts; in fact, disciples did suffer death… Perhaps verse 18 is a misplaced saying, or it may mean that the persecutors can kill in a physical sense but in a far more important way disciples will be kept safe. In any case, faithfulness and endurance under threat, under arrest, and under penalty of death are qualities of disciples during this time of witnessing.” (Craddock, p. 245)

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • This is not a plan for escapism or raptured violence voyeurism. Discipleship is not about avoiding this time of trial, and persecution of the Church continues. Persecution is a part of Christian discipleship. No institution - even as grand as the Temple - can protect us from this. This passage is about faith and endurance through times of struggle.
  • “Luke’s point seems to be that believers were not to interpret the end of Jerusalem as a clear sign of the end of the world. What remains is, “the times of the Gentiles,” (v. 24). This may be a reference to the Gentile mission which went out from Jerusalem,”  (Craddock, p. 246) as it is recorded in Luke’s sequel, Acts. This passage is a reminder that even though the Institution took a huge hit, even though it appeared as though everything was crumbling around them, even though there was going to be great - cosmic and familial - turmoil, faith endurance was the mark of discipleship because there was still work to be done.

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 118 Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist, Patreon)

Second Reading: Isaiah 65:17-25 A new heaven and a new earth
Initial Thoughts

  • A new Wrigley and a new Chicago!
  • Pre-Revelation - Revelation text: new Heaven and New Earth

Bible Study

  • Context

    • Post-Exilic - community is faced with the difficult task of rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple
    • Word of judgement vs. 1-16
    • God’s judgement does not have the last word
  • About what God is doing!

    • Creating a New Heaven and New Earth

      • Not destroying the old, but renewing Heaven and Earth
      • “I am creating” so you will be glad and rejoice forever
    • Rejoicing and delighting in people

      • No longer being angry or judging them, but celebrating
    • I will answer, I will hear

      • God who will be in relationship with us
      • We don't need to ask - God will be fully present
  • New Jerusalem

    • No weeping
    • Low infant mortality (75% infant mortality at the time of Isaiah!)
    • Long lives - NOT IMMORTALITY!
    • Work?

      • Yes- but you reap the fruits of your labor
      • No oppressive labor practices
    • All things are connected together

      • Lion, Lamb, Wolf will all live in harmony together
  • What does humanity do to “get” this New Jerusalem?

    • NOTHING!
    • We are invited to respond to God’s promise of radical grace, but we receive God’s blessing nevertheless
  • Good News

    • Capacity for renewal
    • There is nothing and no one that God cannot re-create and renew to be a blessing to all people

Sermon Thoughts and Questions

  • Are we willing to relinquish control to usher in God’s new Kingdom and Earth which will look very different from the Heaven and Earth we would create?
  • What does it look like for God to celebrate with us? How do you celebrate with God?
  • If we truly want God’s will to be be on earth as it is in heaven- this is a good place to start: Infant mortality rates, care for the elderly, fair labor practices and a reminder of the interconnectedness of life.

Tasty Wafer of the Week:


  • Thank you listeners


Leebob @iamleebob
@PulpitFpodcast cubs win.... And this election cycle... Maybe I should have paid more attention to eschatology in Seminary.

Featured Musician - Eddie Vedder, “All the Way”

  • Various links and versions on youtube, including This One

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”).