Ep. 47: Christianity...Voltron Edition or After Epiphany 3A


For Sunday January 26, 2014, ThirdSunday After Epiphany A

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SHOW NOTES -  1/26/2014

Episode 47: Christianity...Voltron Edition

Opening Music: “I’m Proud to Be Me” Artist Unknown

Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, where two local pastors discuss the lectionary reading for the week. We’ve been sitting here contemplating, and we’re basically just going to walk the earth.  You know, like Caine in Kung Fu, walk from place to place, meet people, go on adventures. This is episode 47 for Sunday January 26, the third Sunday after Epiphany, Year A:


Primary Scripture - Matthew 4:12-23 - Calling the Disciples

  • Initial thoughts
    • Regular church goers who also pay attention may have some questions based on last week’s “call story.”
      • John 1:35-42 In this passage, Simon and Andrew are disciples of John the Baptist.  Jesus tells them to “Come and See,” and they stay with him for a night.  Andrew first believes John’s testimony, then tells his brother Simon that Jesus is the Messiah.  Jesus then immediately changes Simon’s name to Cephas (Peter).
      • No mention of “fishers of men,” and no mention that they are fishermen at all.
  • Bible Study
    • Jesus was born in Bethlehem, moved to Egypt, then to Nazareth, now moves to Capernaum
      • Eric Barreto points out that these moves were all mandated by God, “to fulfill prophecy”
      • Transient early years for Jesus foreshadows ministry.
      • Jesus’ life was that of an itinerant preacher, wandering healer, searching out those that need God wherever they are.
    • Simon and Andrew
      • Fishing at the side of the sea.
      • “I’ll show you how to fish for people.”
      • “Right away” they left their nets and followed him.
    • James and John, sons of Zebedee
      • In a boat with Zebedee, fixing their nets
      • “Immediately” they left their boat - and their Dad
      • Leaving behind family had much weight
        • Inheritance
        • Security
        • Connection to community
        • Heritage
    • The Kingdom of Heaven is near
      • Same message of John, but different context
        • John stayed put, people came to him,
        • Jesus went out searching, and told them to follow along
        • Later, sent them out on their own.
      • “Heaven” instead of “God,” does not imply that Jesus is preaching about afterlife.
        • Heaven would have been a more accessible word to Jewish audience that feared pronouncing the name of God.
      • Kingdom has come near in the activity of Jesus
        • Teaching in synagogues
        • Announcing good news
        • Healing disease and sickness
  • Preaching Thoughts and Questions:
    • How does existence of today’s church contrast with the wandering, searching ministry of Jesus?
    • Two ways of fishing - going out in a boat, or standing on the shore and throwing out nets.
      • When the church goes “fishing,” are we using ripped nets?  Are we just standing on the shore, hoping for someone to swim into our net?
    • Following Jesus - just going along with the flow, or a radical transformation?
    • What is the Kingdom work that we are doing?  How is the Kingdom of God near today?
      • The Kingdom is near is the prelude to the Sermon on the Mount.  The Kingdom is near when we “do” the Sermon on the Mount, e.g. love your enemies, turn the other cheek, etc.
    • How many people are going about their business, waiting for someone to call them to more?

Transition Music: How Far is Heaven by Los Lonely Boys

Secondary scripture - 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 - Has Christ Been Divided?

  • Great reading to introduce Prayer for Christian Unity or the Letter from a Birmingham Jail
  • Divisions in the church
    • Immediate concern of Church in Corinth
      • These division are not historical but are used to make a point
        • i.e. There is no evidence of an Apollos or Cephas faction
    • counters the “if only we could be more like the early church” claims
    • division often leads to hierarchy
      • to separate as “better than”
      • Ex: Baseball:
        • Not enough to be a Yankees fan- you need to hate the Red Sox
        • It is about loving the game
    • How does this translate to the push for denominational identity?
      • “I belong to the UCC”, “I belong to the UMC”, “I belong to the Catholic church”
      • “In essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things charity”
      • Evangelicals vs Progressives, Biblical faithfulness vs Social Justice, etc
    • The focus is Christ and God
  • Theology of the Cross
    • “The gospel is given in the cross as self-sacrifice, giving oneself up in response to and care for the other, the cross as bearing the burdens of others—not as self-denial and resignation, but in joy and thanksgiving. To claim anything else empties the cross of Christ of its power.” - Timothy Sedgwick, Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 1: Advent through Transfiguration.
    • Contrasted with “eloquent wisdom”
      • Not orthodoxy
      • Not orthopraxis
      • Christian faith is a way of life
  • Can we be united in a way of life?
    • What are the essentials that bind us together?
  • v. 16 - awesome- way to backtrack Paul
  • v. 17 - separates Baptism from the Good News
    • Do our rituals mean anything is devoid of the Good News?
    • How do we ensure that our worship, our practices, our sacraments are tools to communicate the good news?
  • Preaching thoughts:
    • When caught up in church conflict and division do we remember that all are still our “brothers and sisters”?
    • What is the unifying essential which bind your local church or regional or global Christianity together?
      • How do we live that essential unity out?
    • How do we overcome pastor-worship, issue-worship, program-worship?
    • Do our worship, programs, budget, rituals communicate the good news?
      • What is the good news? Think back to Peter’s sermon in Acts 10
    • How do we share the Good News which seem increasingly foolish to our culture? (evidence being the increasing number of nones)

Transition Music: Come Together (by The Beatles) covered by Bobby McFerrin and Robin Williams

Closing -
TY: listeners
Opening Music: “I’m Proud to Be Me” Artist Unknown
Transition Music: How Far is Heaven by Los Lonely Boys
Transition Music: Come Together (by The Beatles) covered by Bobby McFerrin and Robin Williams
Theme Music: Dick Dale and the Deltones “Misirlou”
Closing music, “Oh No” by Paul & Storm

Shout outs:  

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  • A.F. Sampson- great comments on our blog regarding baptism from the Anabaptism tradition
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