70: King of what? or Pentecost +4A


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SHOW NOTES -  7/6/2014
Episode 70: King of what? or Pentecost +4A
For Sunday, July 6, 2014
Episode 70


Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, where two local pastors discuss the  lectionary reading for the week.  

This is episode 70 for Sunday July 6, Proper 9A/Ordinary 14A/Pentecost +4, Year A.

Matthew 11:16-30 Jesus the Glutton, Drunkard, and Rest-giver

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 - Isaac and Rebekah

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Introduction and Check-in

  • A lot of United Methodist pastors (Robb included) will be preaching their first sermon at new churches this Sunday.  

Featured Musician - Christopher Grundy, “Church of the Shelved” from In this Life. www.christophergrundy.com

Primary Scripture - Matthew 11:16-30 Jesus the Glutton, Drunkard, and Rest-giver

  • Initial Thoughts
    • Matthew 11 according to The Twible, by Jana Riess, “JC and JnBap are chided for not joining in the crowd’s reindeer games. JnBap’s too pious and JC’s not pious enough. They just can’t win.”
    • Lectionary edits the story for worship, but preacher must study the whole thing.
    • Freakonomics
  • Bible Study
    • Three sections (lectionary includes the first and last)
    • 1) Jesus and John do their own thing
      • Last piece of a collection of three passages about John and Jesus
        • 11:2-6 Who is Jesus?
        • 11:7-15 Who is John
          • What did you expect?
            • a reed blown by the wind (someone influenced by the current philosophy or intellectual fashion?)
            • royal robes (someone influences by power, wealthy or politics)?
            • John was neither of these and neither is Jesus
        • 11:16-19 Response to both
      • John was too countercultural, too threatening to the status quo
      • Jesus was not countercultural enough
      • Are not all pastors judged the same way?
        • Be pious, but be down to earth
        • Don’t swear, or drink too much or get angry or frustrated, but be human and relatable
      • Wisdom is justified by her deeds - great indication of the feminine divine and the work of the Spirit
    • 2) Woe to the unrepentant cities
      • Begins a new section contrasting “this age” with the Kingdom of God
      • This is what happens to those who “don’t get it” see v. 16-19
      • Tyre, Sidon and Sodom - “evil” unfaithful and infamous Gentile cities
      • Jesus lifts them up over Jewish cities of Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida - nearby towns, possibly the residents of whom he is talking to
        • Is this an external judgement (hellfire from the skies) or an internal judgement (if you don’t understand you will not live your life fully)?
        • They are judged - not for not believing in the miracles, but for not repenting and following Jesus’ way
    • 3) I will give you rest
      • Thanksgiving to the least of these - infants
      • Theme of discipleship from last week
      • Cost of Discipleship Dietrich Bonhoeffer
      • Following Jesus is not carefree affirmation, but means taking up the yoke of love and forgiveness - a burden still exists, just a different one
      • “How can Jesus offer rest when he asks so much?...What Jesus offers is not freedom from work, but freedom from onerous labor...The easy yoke means having something to do: a purpose that demands your all and summons forth your best...It means work toward a certain future in which all of God's dreams will finally come true. To accept the yoke of the gentle and humble Lord is to embrace the worthy task that puts the soul at ease.” (Lance Pape)

Preaching Thoughts

  • What do you expect when you come to Jesus? Someone who will say you are ok just the way you are? Someone who invites you to follow in a way of love and to give up security, comfort, power and prestige for the sake of God and neighbor?

Featured Musician - Christopher Grundy,“Come to Me” from Come to the Feast. www.christophergrundy.com

Secondary scripture -Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 - Isaac and Rebekah

  • Initial Thoughts
    • Genesis 24 according to The Twible, by Jana Riess “Meet-cute 1. Isaac is told, ‘Whoever waters the camels is your girl.’ Rebecca wins! See tabloids for spicy details & glam wedding pics.”
    • Lectionary edits the story for worship, but preacher must study the whole thing.
    • Comes between the death of Sarah and the death of Abraham.
      • Death of Sarah seals the immediate need.
      • Abraham needed to be alive to seal the approval of the marriage.
  • Bible Study
    • Story recap:
      • Isaac needs a wife.  God demands that he does not get a wife in the land of Canaan.  He is also forbidden to go to Canaan himself, so a servant is sent.  
      • Servant gets to the well, where there are a lot of women.  To help him decide, he says, “Lord, make the woman I want offer to give me and my camel water.”
      • Rebekah does just that, so the servant tells her his plans.  He goes back to her home, where he asks Laban if she can be brought back to Isaac to be her wife.  Laban agrees, and asks if Rebekah agrees.  She agrees to be brought back to Isaac.
      • Rebekah and Isaac get married.
    • Motifs (from Walter Brueggemann, Interpretation: Genesis, pp. 199-200)
      • Blessedness
        • “Yahweh has blessed my master”
        • Laban blesses God as well.
          • It is clear that Laban is also a Yahweh-follower.  He is an “insider.”
      • Prosperity
        • Closely linked to blessedness.
        • Prosperity is an outward sign of the steadfast relationship between Abraham and God.
        • Powerful proof-texting material for Prosperity Gospel
      • Loyalty and Fidelity
        • Loyalty of God to follow through on the promises that were made.
        • Loyalty of the players to always trust in God’s leading.
          • Abraham follows God’s instructions
          • Servant
          • Laban
          • Especially Rebekah, who is given the option to not follow, but does.
      • Guidance of God
        • God’s hand is in all the action.  He is the unseen force behind all of the actions and decisions.
        • Isaac and Rebekah are not just a random couple, they were brought together with purpose from God.
        • (God was their match-maker)
    • Rebekah
      • From a household of Yahweh believers
      • Hospitable
      • Willing to follow God’s plan
  • Preaching Thoughts
    • “The text provides an important opportunity to help persons think about faith, what it is and how it comes.  In a culture which grasps for visible signs of faith, which is driven toward scientism, and which falls for too many religious quackeries, this story stands as a foil against easy and mistaken faith.  The workings of God are not spectacular, not magical, not oddities.  Disclosure of God comes by steady discernment and by readiness to trust” (from Walter Brueggemann, Interpretation: Genesis, p 201).  How can we practice “steady discernment?”  What does this kind of relationship with God look like?  Is it possible to be this soaked in a relationship with God and not fall into “religious quackery”?
    • Traditional patriarchal reading of the story can transform Rebekah into a pawn.  Remember that it was her action that started things off.  Her kindness was not attributed to God’s leading, only her own character.  In fact, she is the only person in the story who is acting independently of God, or independently of an ulterior motive.  In the end, she is given the choice to go with Isaac, and again she chooses to act faithfully.

Featured Musician - Christopher Grundy, “Come to Me” from Come to the Feast. www.christophergrundy.com

TY listeners

Featured Musician this week was Christopher Grundy, we first heard “Church of the Shelved” from In this Life and then heard on of our favorites, “Come to Me” from Come to the Feast. You can find more about Christopher and his music at  www.christophergrundy.com.

Our theme music is Misirlou by Dick Dale and the Del Tones and our closing music is “Oh No” by Paul & Storm.