Ep. 49: Light and Salty or After Epiphany 5A


For Sunday, February 9, 2014, Fifth Sunday After Epiphany

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SHOW NOTES -  2/9/2014

Episode 49: Light and Salty

Opening Music: Ode to Joy by Pete Seeger
For Sunday, February 9, 2014
Episode 49

Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, where two local pastors discuss the lectionary reading for the week. It’s a hammer of justice, it’s a bell of freedom, it’s a song about love between brothers and sisters, it’s episode 49 for Sunday February 9, the fifth Sunday after Epiphany, Year A:


Primary Scripture - Matthew 5:13-20 - Salt and Light

  • Initial thoughts
    • Reminder that we’re going interrupted in the Sermon on the Mount for the next three weeks  until 5:48
    • Godspell’s “You Are The Light of the World” - was my solo when we did this musical.  I wrote a lot about it last Lent.
  • Bible Study
    • Salt of the Earth
      • Being the “salt of the earth,” is more than the modern understanding.
      • Salt was one of the most important commodities of ancient world.
      • Salt was used for preservation, which allowed stores over dry seasons and winters.  Some claim that using salt allowed for the formation of civilization.
      • Salt used in ritual, seasoning, special occasions.  Salt=life.  Salt=Abundant life.
      • Salt, by definition, only loses its saltiness if it is diluted.
    • Light of the World
      • God started Creation with Light.
      • Light is a common metaphor for God in Scriptures.
      • The light is of God.
      • Israel was meant to be the “light of the world,” to be a blessing to the world.
      • Saying “You are the light of the world” is telling the people that they are the sign of God’s presence in the world.
    • Fulfill the Law, not abolish it
      • Jesus is a part of God’s ongoing work of Salvation
      • Its not a new thing, it is an expanding thing.
      • Upholds tradition.
      • Strongest argument against the “Marcion Heresy” that still exists.
      • Introduction to Jesus saying “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you…”  
    • Righteousness greater than the Pharisees
      • Not because of following the rules more closely, but because of a deeper understanding.
      • I think this paragraph should have been connected with next in the lectionary.
      • Righteousness is not about following rules, but following heart.
  • Preaching Thoughts and Questions:
    • Coaches that tear people down with insults (Bob Knight, Mike Rice, the coach from Rutgers fired after video of him abusing players was released), versus those that build people up.  
    • “children become what they are called.”  Challenge of discipleship is to live into what Jesus said we are to be.
    • How many people have never been told “You are the light of the world”?  How tragic is it that there are people in the world who have never been told that they are they light of anyone’s world.
    • What is righteousness?  How do we follow the heart of the law above the letter of the law?  
    • How do we find balance between conservative and progressive? And not in the political sense of these words, but in their truest sense.  This passage Jesus seems to be saying that there is both something new, and something ancient that is going on.

Transition Music:More Light by Christopher Grundy

Secondary scripture - 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 - Wisdom

  • Bible Study
    • Human wisdom vs power of the Spirit
      • Two thoughts:
        • weakness, fear and trembling is the appropriate demeanor of a Cross-shaped ministry (J.R. Daniel Kirk), it allows the Spirit of God to break through
        • It is not Paul’s great preaching (he is weak and fearful) so if you came to faith by his preaching- it wasn’t his wisdom- it was the Holy Spirit
          • in other words- since he clearly isn’t fearful/trembling/weak, the Spirit must has worked through him
      • Faith is a gift of the spirit
        • not the result of good rhetoric or a well reasoned philosophy
        • Preachers can promote or inhibit the work of the Spirit
    • Response to the divisions within the church
      • instead of focusing on the divides and the actions of the different sects, Paul focuses on God’s work in all of them which is the foundation and overshadows their differences
    • Anti-intellectual?
      • No - use your brain, but don’t lose your faith
      • Allow God to work through your intellect- as a tool for the Spirit
    • Vulnerability
      • Does the Christian message require us to be vulnerable?
      • We live in a culture that abhors vulnerability
      • How might we learn to embrace weakness, fear and trembling?
    • vv.6-16 - Two kinds of Wisdom
      • Wisdom of God
      • Wisdom of the World
      • “In fact, throughout 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 Paul places God's wisdom and the world's wisdom in sharpest antithesis. The special wisdom to which Paul claims access (a) is God's wisdom, that (b) leads God's people to glory, and (c) is knowable only by the Spirit. This stands in stark contrast (a) to the world's and the world's leaders' wisdom, that (b) is the product of people doomed for destruction, and (c) lacks the sight to apprehend the saving wisdom of God. The cross is at the center of this dichotomy. The rulers of this age put their worldly "wisdom" on display when they crucified "the Lord of glory" (2:8).”(J.R. Daniel Kirk)
    • v.9 citation- unclear where it comes from...maybe a lost Greek trans of Isaiah 64:4
  • Preaching Thoughts and Questions:
    • in Preaching do we come like experts or do we come only with Jesus Christ crucified? Are we inviting people into the conversation and relationship with Christ? Are we trying to “sell them on Christ”? Are we honest about a Christ crucified?
    • God has prepared something for us that we cannot comprehend. This is often interpreted to mean heaven- perhaps it means torture and death on a cross. Isn’t that equally incomprehensible?
    • Do we celebrate worldly wisdom (budgets, attendance numbers, resolutions) or Christ crucified?
    • Do we invite people to be happy, meet people, find good programming or be crucified?

Transition Music: Closing - Then Will You Light Shine Forth by Christopher Grundy

TY: listeners
Opening Music: Ode to Joy by Pete Seeger
Transition Music: More Light by Christopher Grundy
Transition Music: Then Will You Light Shine Forth by Christopher Grundy
Theme Music: Dick Dale and the Deltones “Misirlou”
Closing music, “Oh No” by Paul & Storm

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Shout outs:  

  • Hope Molaziay “after listening to the podcast I actually think I'll use the movie "Groundhog Day" in my sermon this week.”
  • Jeff Lukens- @tourguidepastor Twitter

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