88: P27A (Nov. 9) We love lamp


For Sunday November 9. Proper 27A, Ordinary 32A, 22 Sundays after Pentecost. 

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SHOW NOTES -  11/9/2014
Episode 88: P27A (Nov. 9) We love lamp
For Sunday, November 9, 2014
image from snorgtees: http://www.snorgtees.com/i-love-lamp

Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, where two local pastors discuss the reading for the week. One of them is Robb, my Daddy.  The other is my Uncle Eric.  This is episode 88 for Sunday November 9. Proper 27A, Ordinary 32A, 22 Sundays after Pentecost.
Matthew 25:1-13 - Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids
Joshua 24:1-3, 14-25 - My house will serve the Lord

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Introduction and Check-in

  • Like milk on a hot day in San Diego, Thessalonians was a bad choice.
  • #AmyOnPulpitFiction  According to this report, Amy Poehler is producing a new church-based comedy.  Help us get her attention on Social Media and Twitter.  Ask her to be a guest on Pulpit Fiction.  Tweet something like this: @Smrtgrls and @eeshmu So excited about your new project, please go on @pulpitfpodcast to talk about it #AmyOnPulpitFiction

Featured Musician -
Red Molly, “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning” from their album from Love and Other Tragedies.

Primary Scripture - Matthew 25:1-13 - Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids
Initial Thoughts

  • Part of a larger context of Jesus' judgement discourse staying 24:1
    • While I wouldn't read the entire judgement discourse in church, the background is important for one preaching on this text
  • Jesus’ other Sermon on the Mount...not nearly as warm and fuzzy - spoken to the disciples

Bible Study

  • Virgins (NIV) is the literal translation, but could also be translated as "bridesmaids" which is how the NRSV translates it.
    • I would read bridesmaids instead of virgins. "Virgins" can lead to a focus on sexuality which is out of context in this story
  • Allegory
    • Bridegroom - parousia of Jesus' second coming
    • Bridesmaid - the faithful community
    • Bride - ? Oddly absent, usually is the faithful community
    • Could the bride be the world? The bridesmaids as the church then it is our duty to prepare creation for the parousia (Jesus coming or the culminating Kingdom of heaven)
  • Bridegroom
    • Delay does not insinuate that the parousia will be delayed liberty, but emphasizes that the time is unknown
    • The arrival then is "the Kingdom of heaven"
    • John M Buchanan (Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 4: Season After Pentecost 2 ),
      • “—Jesus Christ comes when Christian people live in hope and never give up.
      • —Jesus Christ comes when faithful disciples express love and compassion and work for justice.
      • —Jesus Christ comes when critically ill people know they are ultimately safe in God's love.
      • —Heaven breaks into earth when faithful women and men live in hope and give themselves to the work of the kingdom.”
  • Oil - according to M. Eugene Boring (NIB vol. 8) are the good deeds that will count in the parousia
    • What counts? See Matthew 25:31-46 (TWIBLE)
    • What matters is not being faithful once (all the bridesmaids started with oil),  but a life of faith
    • the idea of buying oil at midnight is as absurd as pretending you have loved good and neighbor you while life when you haven't. (see v. 11 and Matthew 7:21-24)
  • Wise vs. foolish
    • Being prepared - they all look the same and act the same, but only the wise ones are prepared or ready
    • It is not until the midnight hour that you can really tell the wise from the foolish
    • Does not mean we will always be in a state of constant alertness because they all fall asleep (v.5..which seems to contradict v.13)
    • The foolish are not prepared for the “long haul” they only came prepared for the evening- are we in it for the long haul? Are we willing to wait and remain faithful knowing that the wait may be long?
      • Reminds me of Cathedral building which would take generations- are we Cathedral building or do we need instant gratification?
      • Mark Douglass (feasting on the word) argues that this text is a warning against those who are in it for the short run, constantly predicting Jesus’ return

Preaching Thoughts

  • How do we nurture life long faith outside of Sunday worship?
  • Are we ready for Jesus? If Jesus were to come down from heaven and stand before you, would you be proud to show him your life (or your church)?
  • How do we respond as churches and individuals when the midnight hour strikes? Do we blame others for not sharing their "oil" or do we take responsibility and repent?

Red Molly, “May I Suggest” from their album from
Love and Other Tragedies. Find more of their great music at redmolly.com. Find them on Facebook, Twitter @redmollyband, and YouTube

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Secondary scripture -Joshua 24:1-3, 14-25 - My house will serve the Lord
Initial Thoughts

  • “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” makes a beautiful arts and craft project to hang in your home.  Somehow, I feel like this cheapens the solemn act of covenant that happens here.

Bible Study

  • Literary Context
    • Near the closing verses of Joshua.  One of the last things he does alive. Before it closes, they bury the bones of Joseph in the promised land
    • Promise of Genesis: You will be a great nation in this land.
    • Genesis closes with a great nation in the wrong land
    • Exodus closes with the nation on the border of the land.
    • Joshua is the story of possessing the land.  It contains some of the most disturbing parts of the Bible. They are now a great people in the land
      • Do you read Joshua as God ordaining horrendous violence OR do you read Joshua as a history of the victors justifying the violence they used to win?  Is there another way to read Joshua?
  • Lectionary Issues
    • The verses cut out are a retelling of the history of the people.
    • Verses 4-12 retells Exodus and Joshua.
    • Focus is on God’s work, “I sent.. I plagued… I brought… I handed…”
  • “I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and towns that you had not built…”
    • Not a self-made nation
    • God reminds them that their existence is dependent upon God, and God alone.
    • NRSV and CEB translates: “Now go and revere the Lord.”
      • CEB Study Bible note: “The word revere is sometimes translated ‘fear,’ but the rendering here is most helpful.  The term has to do with the reverence and honor for God seen in complete devotion.”
      • “Fear the Lord,” seems to be in direct contrast to Jesus’ call to “Fear not.”  How are these things related?  Does this reveal the nature of God that is changed from the Old and New Testaments?  Is Jesus claim to “fear not,” go against the OT claim to “fear the Lord.”  Or is it a misunderstanding of the OT’s use of the word ‘fear.’  There is no way that Jesus is saying “Respect Not,” or “Be irreverent.”  Or maybe he is saying, “lighten up.”
  • Joshua puts forth a choice: “Serve the Lord” or “serve the other gods.”  You cannot serve both (reminiscent of Jesus’ claim that no one can serve two masters)
    • Joshua: “My family is going to serve the Lord.  What about you?”
    • People:  “Of course we’ll serve the Lord, he’s awesome.”
    • Joshua: “I don’t think you realize what you’re saying.  Serving the Lord is really hard, and he’ll get extra pissed if you promise to serve him, and then don’t.”
    • People: “No really, we will serve the Lord.”
    • Joshua: “Alright.  Let’s mark this agreement with this big rock just in case someone forgets.  And by ‘someone’ I mean you, because God won’t forget.”

Preaching Thoughts

  • What does it mean to “serve the Lord?”
    • Put away other gods. - What is the modern equivalent of putting away other gods?  
    • “Inner devotion can be so vaporous, so vague and unmeasurable, that it is meaningless.  Perhaps for that reason verse 14 recalls Genesis 35:2-4, in which Jacob leads a ceremony of collecting and burying idols.  Joshua 24:14 may suggest a ritual removing of gods that might compete with the Lord as a sign of exclusive devotion.  This can be important for contemporary people of faith who find it difficult to reject the pervasive societal and cultural influences that mitigate faith in God” (Jerome Creach, Interpretation: Joshua, p. 125).  
      • This sort of ritual burying of false idols could have some potential for modern worship services, but could also slip into ‘book burning’ type of ritual that could be counter productive.
  • Is a wall hanging a pleasant reminder of the covenant, or a cheapening of what is meant?  It depends on the motivation, and the heart of those in the covenant.
    • An analogy: “A fitting similitude for modern people is the relationship of a person to a passionate lover.  If the relationship leads to a marriage covenant, certain formal agreements apply.  The obligation to the lover, however, is not fulfilled by mechanical compliance with stipulations.  Imagine the absurdity of a partner in marriage greeting the spouse at the end of the day, ‘My commitment to you is complete today because  I have not committed adultery.’  The relationship requires multiple expressions of love that can never be legislated fully.  Moreover, the passion of the lover is naturally expressed as anger if the partner ignores or neglects the relationship” (Creach, p. 127)

Tasty Wafer of the Week!

TY listeners

A lot of people joined our campaign to get Amy Poehler on Pulpit Fiction including David Rice @wdavidrice who wrote @PulpitFpodcast such a good idea to bring in Amy. I'll do all that I can to help.

Thank you to all the people who liked, shared and left supportive comments on our big news of leading a workshop at the Festival of Homiletics

Our Featured Musician:
Red Molly was our featured musician we heard “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning” and “May I Suggest” from their album from Love and Other Tragedies. Find more of their great music at redmolly.com. Find them on Facebook, Twitter @redmollyband, and YouTube

Thanks to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Summertime”) and The Steel Wheels for our transition music(“Second of May” from their album Live at Goose Creek) and special closing music this week is Richard Bruxvoort Colligan’s song “I Am for Peace”. Ellie and Charles, who recorded the intro for this week.