Ep. 26: Pharisee Chicken Tastes Like Wood or Proper 17C / Ordinary 22C / Pentecost +15


For Sunday, September 1
Proper 17C / Ordinary 22C / Pentecost +15

Show Notes after the break (click read more) 

SHOW NOTES -  9/1/2013

Opening Music: “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang

Episode 26 - Proper 17C / Ordinary 22C / Pentecost +15
Luke 14:1, 7-14
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16


  • 6 months!
  • Lion and Lamb Festival - this WEEKEND!
  • Season of Creation - alternative lectionary? Do you use? Are you aware of it?
  • Labor Day
    • How to bring it in to worship?
    • Sabbath?
    • Focusing on labor justice?

Primary Scripture -– Luke 14:1, 7-14  Places of honor and radical table sharing

  • For reference: Luke 14: 2-6 - questions about healing or acts of grace on the Sabbath
  • “Table Talk” includes four messages.  Jesus is at the house of a “leader of the Pharisees,” who were “watching him closely.”  
    • Lectionary this week includes middle two:  
      • Healing on the Sabbath
      • Lesson for Guests - sit at the lowest place
      • Lesson for Hosts - invite people that cannot repay you
      • Parable of the great dinner - People make excuses to not come, so the poor, crippled, blind, and lame are invited
  • This is not about manners or etiquette.  The Table Talk is a metaphor for the Kingdom of God. 
  • Four Lessons:
    • Lesson for Guests
    • Sit at the lowest place of honor, so that you may be invited to come to a greater position.
    • “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Proverbs 25:6-76
      • Is there anything more frustrating than false humility, or the “humble brag?”
    • Instructions are not about a way to manipulate yourself to a better seat.
      • Jesus is calling for sincere humility, not strategizing.
      • “Jesus does not offer a divinely approved way for a person to get what he or she wants.  Taking the low seat because one is humble is one thing; taking the low seat as a way to move up is another.  This message becomes a cartoon if there is a mad, competitive rush for the lowest place, with ears cocked toward the host, waiting for the call to ascend.” (Fred Craddock, Interpretation).
      • Humility is not about devaluing self.  It is about denying man-made status, and embrace equality of the other.
    • Humility was a counter-cultural concept.  “His exhortation is to pursue humility, a concept with significant status connotations. Humility was very rarely considered a virtue in Greco-Roman moral discourse. Yet, humility is to mark the followers of Jesus”  (Jeannine Brown, The Working Preacher)
      • Today, humility is often a lip-service virtue.  People talk about humility as a virtue, but those who are exalted are usually not truly humble.
  • Lesson for Hosts
    • This is a much more blatantly counter-cultural message, disrupting the very social order, not just patterns of behavior.
    • Quid pro quo - the exchange of one good or service for another - is an inherently Roman idea, and is the basis of patronage system.  Inviting people who “could give nothing in return” is in direct opposition to system of patronage where the only reason anyone did anything was for something in return.
    • Jesus is calling for “Kingdom behavior,” where love is given with nothing is returned.
    • Lesson is emphasized with next parable, where the master invites the poor, crippled, and lame.
    • Vast implications for Church in its mission to participate in radical hospitality.  Do we need to rethink Soup kitchens, food pantries, and other “hunger missions.”  
      • “Hospitality, then, is not having each other over on Friday evenings but welcoming those who are in no position to host us in return.  Nor does the text speak of sending food to anyone; rather, the host and the guest sit at table together.  The clear sign of acceptance, of recognizing others as one’s equals, of cementing fellowship, is breaking bread together.”  (Fred Craddock, Interpretation)

Secondary scripture - Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 Mutual Love

  • Labor Day - do we need a day away from working for justice?
  • Mutual love as the framework of the passage
    • what is mutual love?
      • hospitality to strangers
      • compassion to prisoners
      • faithful relationships
      • extravagant stewardship
      • sacrificial worship
    • For love to be mutual- it must happen in community
    • Church is the community of mutual love
    • Mutual love is the foundation of “doing good and sharing what you have”
    • Mutual love is the foundation of being in relationship with God that we can confidently confess: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?"
  • Worship as a sacrifice of praise to God
    • Worship needs to be transformative- we need to be willing to be transformed by the spirit
    • we become like what we worship
  • Fellowship - let mutual love continue
    • transformative worship melts us down - it is up to us what mold we will be poured into: the world? or the kingdom of God?
  • Ministry stems from worship and fellowship
  • Worship that does not melt the soul and lead to deepened relationships with fellow servants of our Lord becomes a fussy curatorship of moribund customs. It becomes a cause of strife and contentiousness rather than a fresh way of addressing our love to God. Fellowship that does not grow out of spirited worship and point into courageous ministry becomes boozy, gossipy, and, as this passage warns, potentially adulterous. Cliques in a congregation are fine, provided they are nexuses of positive energy, but disconnected from worship or ministry, they are a circle of wagons on the congregation's prairie. Ministry that does not grow out of worship-forged friendships becomes proprietary and sour, something to fight others about, rather than something to offer to them. If the payoff for ministry is not the love of God and your fellow ministers, it will decay into prestige maintenance. ~ Gray Temple, Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year C, Volume 4: Season After Pentecost 2 (Propers 17-Reign of Christ).

Closing - Come to the Feast by Christopher Grundy  

TY: listeners, Opening music, Dick Dale and the Deltones “Misirlou”
TY: Closing music,Paul and Storm, “Oh No”

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