Proper 12C (OT17)
334: July 28, 2019
177: July 26, 2016
VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS: SUSAN PRESLEY AND HARRY HAZELL
authors of the great book, Hezekiah: Buried in the bowels of the Earth for centuries, recently unearthed by a team of hearty explorers
Psalmist: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
Be careful- there is A LOT to preach on here
Talked to some older people in a discussion group. Responses:
“It’s sort of a lazy prayer,”
“When I don’t know what else to say.”
“Have seen people in memory care able to say it.”
Pastoral Prayer, I always close with this prayer. What if we started with it, and did so deliberately, slowly.
Jesus teaches how to pray
“Jesus also invites his disciples to pray that God’s name be hallowed or kept holy (hagiastheto). The passive voice indicates that we ask God to hallow God’s own name, to act in such a way that God’s name is held in honor. The petitions that follow flesh out what this means. When God’s name is hallowed and God’s kingdom comes, there is daily bread for all, forgiveness is practiced, and God delivers the faithful from the time of trial” (David Lose, Working Preacher)
“Hallowed be thy name,” is an invitation for God to act in the world. It is not simply praise. It is not say, “Holy is your name,” it is a request for God to act in the world so that God’s name would be made holy.
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Implies that not everything that happens on earth is the direct will of God. NOT IN THIS PASSAGE.
I was recently told, “God is in control.” Really? Then God is drunk.
If everything happens according to God’s will, why would Jesus tell us to pray like this?
Do we really want to pray like Jesus?
“The prayer invites those participating to a new allegiance which stands in opposition to the world, rulers and kingdoms, and self. It is scary for it calls us away from our individualistic notions of God’s provision and places us right in the midst of God’s self giving love. This new allegiance incorporates practices which if followed might lead to places we did not expect!” (Roy M Terry IV, The Hardest Question)
Was Jesus annoyed by the request?
Wasn’t hanging out with him good enough? Shouldn’t they already know what they need to know.
“Jesus… seems irritated. It’s like the disciples asked him for an egg and he stung them. What is it that bugs Jesus so much? Or, if he is not bugged, why all the negativity? I think it has to do with what is behind the disciples’ question. They don’t ask Jesus to teach them to pray, they ask Jesus to teach them to pray as John taught his disciples. It’s like the disciples want something John’s disciples have, that Jesus is not providing them. Do they want a formula for their spiritual discipline, while Jesus wants them to seek the unpredictable, unquantifiable movement of the Holy Spirit?” (Russell Rathbun, The Hardest Question)
Thoughts and Questions
“The Lord’s Prayer can’t be just words that we recite. It is a prayer that we live. It is one thing to say the words of the Lord’s Prayer, but it is an entirely different thing to live the Lord’s Prayer… When you live the Lord’s Prayer, it becomes more than words that you say. It is the choices you make, the grace you show, the forgiveness you give, and the bread you share.” (Robb McCoy, The Fat Pastor)
What about unanswered prayer?
This passage, as much as any other in the Bible, has created some intense difficulties for believers about the nature and efficacy of prayer. Take for instance, the young boys in my first congregation who prayed everyday that their dad be cured of cancer. He wasn't, and they wanted to know why. Or consider the young woman in another congregation who told me of years of sexual abuse by her father. She told me she prayed and prayed that it would stop. It didn't, at least not for many years, and she wanted to know why. Unanswered prayer, in light of these verses, creates a huge crisis of faith. (David Lose, Working Preacher)
Read through verse 11
750-740 BCE (Israel destroyed in 722 BCE)
Preaching to Israel
Israel is allowing other deities to compete and conflict with worship of YHWH
…”whoredom”...I think I would read CEB this Sunday
Should be disturbing - Otis Moss
Sexist, violent term that perpetuates a patriarchal, abusive rhetoric
Read in the context of Song of Songs- a loving relationship which is falling apart
God loves God’s people and enter into a covenant- like a marriage with Israel
Israel is unfaithful
God’s response: anger, hurt, sorrow
God is not an abstract, transcendent God, instead God is deeply and emotionally relational. God is intimate with us
God is also the disappointed parent (v. 10-11)
How is Israel unfaithful?
By sleeping around with Baal and fertility Gods
Literal - disturbing , unlying divine approval of prostitution, drives the point home and helps Hosea feel what God feels
Metaphorical - avoids the difficult divine commission of prostitution, perhaps doesn’t carry the same weight as a literal interpretation
Be careful- this text can easily be used (and has been used) to dismiss women as the root of unfaithful corruption of society
Men are the moral leaders at best and the foolish, faithful cuckold at worst while women are the unfaithful, sensual underminers of community
The above interpretation must be addressed and countered- this is about Israel’s unfaithfulness, not a prescription for gender roles.
Interesting that here God embodies the very issues most often used to bully women: emotion, intimacy, anger and irrationality
Means a “sudden stop or end”
She is not the center- infact she has little to no role or voice in these matters
Gomer = the people of God before God
Hosea = God
This is about how God feels, not about how we feel. It is our response to God’s feelings of anger, frustration, betrayal and sadness.
If taken literally is very disturbing and reminds us of the sins of the parents being visited upon the children-most likely (and hopefully metaphorical)
Jehu- King who allowed his descendants to worship Baal
Lo-Ruhamah - “No Mercy”
Rachamim means mercy or compassion
Rechem is the root - mean “womb”
God’s rechem and hesed are dependant on Israel’s rechem and hesed
See Psalm 103
V. 7 is more likely a continuation of v 6 not a contrast. “Nor will I have mercy on the house of Judah...or save them” Francis Andersen and David Freedman, Hosea, Anchor Bible 24.
Lo-Ammi - “Not My People”
Ammi - “my people”
“My people” is the foundation of the covenant from Exodus (see Ex. 3:7; 6:7; 19:5-6)
Therefore- the covenant is broken!
Re-iteration of the Genesis 12 promise of fruitfulness
Re-adoption into the land and the family of God
Unity instead of brokenness
Thoughts and Questions
What other gods are we “promiscuous” with? Workaholism? Greed? Security over basic human right?
When we acknowledge ourselves or any other than God as the source of blessing are we not “prostituting” ourselves to other gods/false idols?
Explore what it means to be faithful to God. What does it mean for the church to be the spouse of God? To be in loving and faithful relationship
How often do we focus on what God may be feeling? What is our response to God’s feelings of anger, frustration and betrayal in light of the ways we hurt, kill and abuse one another or remain silent while others are hurt, killed and abused?
It can be dangerous to impose feelings on God, but several clear connection can be made between Israel’s unfaithfulness (not caring for the poor, lack of justice, etc) and our current injustice (Prison industrial complex, systemic racism, massive refugee crisis, declining rhetoric re: sexism and racism)
What does it mean to see God as being intimately connected with us? Passionate and emotional?
See last week for an overview of Colossians and the important issues Paul is addressing
TLDR of Colossians - Jesus Christ is the sovereign image of God who has reconciled the world through grace.
Build directly from last week’s confessional Christological hymn (1:15-20)
Paul is addressing the theological and practical religious practices of the Colossians
Practical - asceticism, refraining from various food and drink, and festivals (2:16), you don’t need to earn your way into salvation or the good graces of God, Jesus has ALREADY reconciled you
Theological - covering the bases by worshiping various “angels” or “elemental spirits” as equal representations of the divine. There is only one representation of the divine which is needed - Jesus is all you need
Jesus has reconciled creation to himself (and, therefore, God) - this has been done for the church and all of creation. A holy life is lived in gratitude for what God has already done in Jesus
Human tradition or elemental spirits of the universe - those things which promise to bring you reconciliation and fulfillment which are not according to Christ are false and empty.
Paul is putting our gratitude in what Jesus has done in the center of our communal life of faith. Instead of laws, or tradition, or circumcision, it is recognition of the reconciling work Christ has done and continues to do in and through us that should form the center of the Church.
“Today's passage is an invitation from Paul and Timothy to the community in Colossae to remember where they came from and to live faithfully out of that powerful source of remembering. Remember, they write, that you are rooted in Christ and built up in him....We need to claim these memories as a community, because our individual memories can be faulty; left on our own, we are prone to self-centeredness and self-pity. Memory in shared identity lifts us as a community, defines us with a sense of purpose, and draws us closer to God.” Rodger Y Nishioka, Feasting on the Word: Year C, Volume 3: Pentecost and Season After Pentecost 1 (Propers 3-16).
Thoughts and Questions
The question is what does it mean to be “according to Christ”, does this mean believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or be baptized (v.12) or does according to Christ mean accepting what God has already done for you and the world reconciling all to God?
If it is the former this has difficult ramifications for interfaith work, but if it is the latter then it may open the door for further exploration with others who have received this good news through other means. I think Paul, speaking for a persecuted religious minority, is referring to the former and not the latter, but what is the Spirit saying to us?
This passage, like all of Colossians asks us to examine the question or whether or not we believe Christ is sufficient. More and more it seems we, like the Colossians do not think Christ is sufficient and therefore must be supplemented with the “angels”, “human traditions” and “elemental spirits” of our time. What are these competing forces that we turn to when Christ seems insufficient? Power, wealth, popularity and influence (social media followers), security, celebrity, apathy, self-righteousness, various causes and political stances, etc. These in and of themselves are not a problem, but they become problematic when we turn to them for grace, acceptance and value instead of Jesus.
Again Paul brings us to the question of who we are as a church. Are we transactional attempting to bribe or buy our way into heaven or the good graces of God through faithful living or proper worship? Or, do we accept what God has already done and recognize that we are already forgiven, loved, claimed and precious in God’s sight - therefore our lives are lived in a grateful response for what God has already done and continues to do in our lives?
See Richard L. Eslinger’s amazing homiletic commentary on this passage in Feasting on the Word: Year C, Volume 3: Pentecost and Season After Pentecost 1 (Propers 3-16):
Move 1: There is a “deceitful philosophy in the church” that says some sins are unforgivable and, therefore, some people are unforgivable.
Move 2: This dangerous philosophy infect entire communities of faith, even denominations who convince themselves there are good, forgiven people and bad people
Move 3: This philosophy is deceitful. God has nailed our transgression to the cross and overcome our worst sins. Christ, not me or you or our church or our denomination, is the head of the church - we are one body
Move 4: We are reborn in the waters of baptism. The deceitful philosophy that separates us and denied one another’s humanity lies floating like algae or soap scum on the surface of the water - washed away and left behind by grace. “Through the grace of God, we are raised with Christ to new life and life together in the body.” Richard L. Eslinger, Feasting on the Word: Year C, Volume 3: Pentecost and Season After Pentecost 1 (Propers 3-16)
Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com,@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.