Ep. 27: Deep Spirit Massage or Proper 18C / Ordinary 23C / Pentecost +16


For Sunday, September 8
Proper 18C / Ordinary 23C / Pentecost +16

Show Notes after the break (click read more) 

Episode 27 - Proper 18C / Ordinary 23C / Pentecost +16
Opening Music: I Have A Dream by MLK


Primary Scripture -– Luke 14:25-33  - Cost of Discipleship

  • Welcome back to church...now hate your family!
  • Cost of discipleship - what are we willing to sacrifice for God?
    • Three decisions: give up family, carry the cross, give up possessions
    • Only time in the NT that “cost” appears”
    • “In the process of becoming living disciples, we must, as Jesus states, also learn to give up all of our possessions—our need to acquire, our yearning for success, our petty jealousies, our denigrating stereotypes of others, our prejudices and hatreds, and more—and follow the way of Jesus, as we place ourselves on an ever-treading potter's wheel to examine our thoughts, words, and actions. These possessions keep us further and further away from the Christlike walk to which Jesus invites us in discipleship.” Emilie Townes Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year C, Volume 4: Season After Pentecost 2 (Proper 17-Reign of Christ).
    • Workaholism - the need to feel needed, the need for approval
    • No transformation without sacrifice - Discipleship is transformation
    • If faith isn’t transformative doesn’t change you, then is it real?
  • Take up the cross
    • “your cross to bear” - used to keep people oppressed and abused
    • By denying ourselves and putting God and other’s first we can truly enter into the fullness of relationship and are made more aware of God’s love and grace manifest in those relationships.
    • Faith means asking the hard questions - about God, about our faith and about ourselves. 
      • The Spirit can see us through these difficult question into a mature a grace-filled faith
        • “There’s a love to keep you stronger that’s always waiting deep inside, so go ahead and open up your eyes … There’s a Spirit underneath that’s gonna raise me, There’s a Spirit underneath to help me rise, There’s a Spirit underneath so full of joy that I can bear to open up my eyes.”  excerpted lyrics from “Clean White Paper by Christopher Grundy
  • Loyalty
    • We can love more than one thing- we can love country and God, we can love family and God, but when our loyalties conflict- which do we choose?
    • Do we choose discipleship or security?
    • Should these decisions be taken literally?
    • Do we water down the Gospel and the cost of discipleship in order to make it palatable?

Secondary scripture - Jeremiah 18:1-11 -Potter’s Hands

  • Potter’s hand in Scripture is always used as a metaphor for God’s capacity for both mercy and wrath.
    • It can hurt to be shaped and molded - deep tissue
    • While throwing pottery, when the piece gets messed up, it is so frustrating, you just want to smash it.  And you have to - completely smash it and re-work it.  It is a time-consuming thing to start a pot over again.  Often the clay is simply discarded and a new lump is used.
    • Potter’s Hand in Romans 9:19-26 “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use?  What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction...”
    • Isaiah 64:8 “O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
    • This is about more than God shaping individual human lives.  It takes the message of Isaiah a little further, and applies it to the nation
      • “This analogy is developed… to demonstrate that the destruction of the kingdom of Judah can properly be understood as the work of God.” (R.E. Clements, Interpretation)
      • The clay is not an individual, but the nation.  Jeremiah is the prophet “of the nations.”
    • Potter’s Hand, by Hillsong
      • It might be okay for the Isaiah passage, but not for the Jeremiah one.  It misses the prospect of judgment entirely, and ignores the corporate nature of the prophetic word.
  • Balance of wrath and judgement
    • Vessel can turn out all right, and then it is put to use.
    • If it is not, it is smashed and started over.
    • Ending grace note - It is still the same clay.  
      • The clay is not discarded.  It is reshaped
      • “The theology of the prophet is balanced between judgment and redemption.  Yahweh’s intention is that the nations reflect the will of their Creator, and if they do not, Yahweh is quite likely to destroy them, but only in order to remake them.  It is redemption that speaks the final word over judgment.”  (James D Newsome, Texts For Preaching, Year C)
  • 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)
    • There is still hope to avoid the judgment.  Still a warning, not a prediction.

Closing - With My Own Two Hands by Ben Harper

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

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