Proper 10C (OT15)


332: July 14, 2019

175: July 10, 2016


Voice in the Wilderness: Susan Presley and Harry Hazell

Psalmist: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Voice in the Wilderness: Susan Presley and Harry Hazell

Featured Musician: Bryan Sirchio

  • “Jesus Was Not an American” from his album Fully Alive

Psalmist Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Luke 10:25-37

Initial Thoughts

  • "How do we preach on the same texts we’ve preached on many times before, perhaps to the very same congregation? That’s our situation this Sunday. My advice is: never look back on your old sermons. Preach this text to these people and to our times. Your people likely won’t remember what you said before anyway.” (Michael Rogness, Working Preacher)

Bible Study

  • Literary Context

    • Jesus is still with the 72 (or 70) who have just returned from their mission. There is no setting break before a legal expert asks this question.

    • Was this legal expert one of the 70?

  • Four questions

    • Legal Expert: “What must I do to have eternal life?”

      • “It is not just about ensuring that one gets to heaven and not hell. It is the whole matter and purpose of life itself. This is a “what is the meaning of life?” or “what is the chief end of humanity?” sort of question.” (Left Behind and Loving It)

    • Jesus: “What is written? What do you read?”

      • “What has been written?” and “How do you read?” Together they imply that the Scriptures are living texts of interactive possibility. They are not, on the one hand, stagnant words that simply say what they say to whoever reads. Nor are they empty pages onto which we can pour opinions willy-nilly.  (Left Behind and Loving It)

      • The legal expert actually gives the answer “Love God, and love neighbor as yourself.”

    • Legal Expert: “Who is my neighbor?

      • “Who do I need to love?”

      • Jesus flips the question.

    • The answer to “Who is my neighbor” prompts the longer response. Jesus tells a story about three men. Then asks the fourth question, “Which of these men were the neighbor?”

    • “I think we would do well to invite our people to wonder whom we see as neighbor and whom we overlook. In many ways, we are as clan-oriented as those in Jesus’ original audience. Most often, we look out first for our immediate and then extended family, and then close friends, and then those who are most like us or share our values or associations. Like the priest and Levite, we tend to overlook and avoid those who are different from us.” (David Lose, Working Preacher)

  • Three men pass by

    • Priest saw, and passed by on other side.

    • Levite came by, and crossed to other side.

      • Both called to a duty.

      • Not evil men, just had competing ideas of duty.

      • Must allow listeners to hear themselves in these two, and cannot do it if we paint them too negatively.

    • Samaritan came to him, and was moved to compassion.

    • Two men were moved to revulsion, separation, apathy.

    • One man was moved to compassion

    • Compassion is key to neighborliness.

  • What about justice?

    • The Faith Forward blog asks a good question: What if the Good Samaritan found another man along that road the next day? And the next? Would he begin to look at why that area was beset with violence? Would he try to stir the powers that be to do something about the crime and poverty in the area? Or would he just keep fixing the wounds, keep giving money to the inn keepers and allowing the thieves to prosper?

    • “While the Parable of the Good Samaritan provides a wonderful lesson in response to a specific question (“Who is my neighbor?”), we are left wondering how to advance life-giving communities alongside our neighbors. For example, while people of faith are often spectacular at following the Good Samaritan model of providing relief in times of crisis, we too often fail at the long-term work that is necessary for lasting social justice.” 

Thoughts and Questions

  • Two quotes from Rev. Fred Rogers, who knew a little something about neighbors.

    • “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say "It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem." Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”  Fred Rogers

    • “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”’

  • The important question is not about eternal life. That one gave a simple answer - one that Jesus didn’t even need to supply. What is the “Greatest Commandment” in Matthew, just common sense in Luke. The important question is “Who is my neighbor?” This answer becomes the basis for Jesus’ answer, which is also based in the Torah:

    • Leviticus 19:18, 33-34 “… you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD… When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

    • The reason we should love our neighbor, the alien, and the stranger is always the same: “I am the Lord your God.” Love others because God. Not “because God said so,” but because God loves them.

Initial Thoughts

  • Switching gears from 1 & 2 Kings to the Prophets!

  • Amos

    • Tender of Sycamore Trees

    • Angry Amos! Delivering messages of God’s anger against the northern Kingdom of Israel

    • God is angry because God loves people and it angers God when we people are mistreated, oppressed or taken advantage of

    • Unfaithfulness - Israel has been unfaithful to God- what does it mean to be faithful?

Bible Study

  • Plumb Line

    • ‘Anak - could mean plumb line or wall of tin indicated the weakness of Israel- their faith is soft and pliable like tin

      • Anak is also similar to anah or anaq both of which mean “sigh” as in a lament of God over the impending destruction of Israel

    • Used to measure the angle of a wall- whether it is straight or caving in

    • Message comes at a time of prosperity and peace- when it seems everything is right, but really the “wall” is crooked and will fall

    • People can be manipulated into believing all is well, but the plumb line cannot be manipulated and the justice of God cannot be manipulated

  • The word of Amos against the King

    • The King’s power is not unlimited- it is subject to the power of God

    • Not King vs. Prophet (the prophet is a simple farmer), the King and Priest don’t understand that it is the King’s injustice vs God’s justice

    • INstead of addressing the concerns raised by Amos, they point to someone else who perhaps is deemed worse: Judah

      • “Don’t blame us- we are far better than them”

    • Tender of Sycamore Trees

      • Sycamore Tree = fig tree in the ancient near east

      • Amos may not have been a prophet but he knows a tree which bears good fruit from a tree that bears bad fruit.

  • Exile

    • Wife becoming unfaithful - Israel is often depicted as the bride of God

    • Children being killed- just as the children of God are being neglected

    • Exile- the gift of the land is contingent on faithfulness

Thoughts and Questions

  • Often when things seem to be going well we assume that we are doing something right, but sometimes the opposite is true. How does your church discern they are staying faithful?

  • What does it mean to speak truth to power? How do you help make sure your voice is heard?

  • Often in the teaching of Jesus we hear the call to bear good fruit. Amos the fig tree tender knows a good tree from a bad tree from the kind of fruit it bears. What kind of fruit do you bear? Does your community bear? Is that fruit pleasing to God?

  • Why does God’s judgment come? Not because God is wrathful but because God loves all people and cannot stand by while some are abused or neglected

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (,@pomopsalmist). Thank you to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Miserlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Sunday Morning”,"Real Ride"and“Summertime”) and Bryan Odeen for our closing music.