Proper 23C (OT28)


345: October 13, 2019

188: October 9, 2016

Voice in the Wilderness: SARAH RENFRO

Psalmist: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Voice in the Wilderness: Bryan Odeen

Featured Musician: The Great Indoors

Psalmist: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Luke 17:11-19 

Bible Study

  • Leprosy

    • Lepros - the 10 people are defined by their disease not by their humanity. 

    • probably was not actual leprosy but a skin malady - is this important to bring up?

    • Healing - both physical restoration and social restoration - lepers are returned to the community

  • What is important?

    • Orthodoxy vs Orthopraxis  - this may seem like an argument for right action over right belief, but it is actually both. The 2 are intertwined - the leper believes he will be cleansed is he violates the law and presents his unclean self before the temple priests, he does it, he returns to praise God (doxa - from where we get orthodoxy) because he believed in what God has done. His belief leads to action.

    • Once again, the Samaritan is lifted up as the hero of faith.  The one in ten that gives thanks.

      • Focus is on the Samaritan as an outsider, foreigner

        • In the land between Samaria and Jerusalem

        • Literally - the one with different genes

      • More than just saying “thank you,” this is an outpouring of worship that shows us the Samaritan is the only one that gets the full benefit of Jesus’ healing.  The others are healed, yes. This is the one that is “saved”.

      • “The passage confronts us with more than a push for common courtesy of saying our thank-yous.  It gives us an outsider whose unrestrained and spontaneous appreciation dramatizes the essence of faith and who disrupts an otherwise easy perception that we know who the real insiders are.” (Charles Cousar, Texts for Preaching, Year C)

  • “Your faith has made you well”

    • Wasn’t the Samaritan already made well?

    • There is a difference between "being cured" and being "made well"

    • It was not his faith in the healing power of God- it was his thanksgiving

    • Do we remember that God is the source of blessing

    • Can God be the source of blessing and not the source of woe (even via passivity)?

    • Faith is something lived - in thankfulness

    • Rob Myalis ( “When Jesus says that the man's faith saved him, we see very clearly that Luke is not suggesting "your belief in a set of propositional truths gave you keys to heaven."  What Jesus seems to be saying is more on long the lines: "your trust in my word and power motivated action from you that transformed your life in a way that have experienced the salvation of God."  For all good theologians, faith leads to action!”

  • Focal verbs

    • Return - hypostrepho

    • Give Praise - doxazo

    • Prostrate - fall on the face

    • Give Thanks - eucharisto

    • Framing in Luke

      • Luke 2:20 - Shepherds after visiting the infant Jesus

      • Luke 24:52 - Disciples after witnessing the ascension

  • Faith as a life of thanksgiving

    • Thankfulness for being cured of dis-ease

    • Thankfulness for being present in the midst of dis-ease

    • If we take the presence and loving nature of God seriously- can we be anything other than thankful?

    • Not faithful/thankful

      • we deserve it - about time

      • What needs to be cured next?

  • “Worship is certainly at the heart of the Christian life, and the story of the one who returns to give thanks points us to that truth. God promises to be at work in the world, in our church, in our lives; so we cannot but give thanks.” - Kimberly Bracken Long, Feasting on the Word: Year C, Volume 4: Season After Pentecost 2 (Propers 17-Reign of Christ)

  • The importance of giving thanks

    • Do you write thank you notes?

  • Prayers:

    • Anne Lamott: 2 favorite prayers

      • morning: “Help me, Help me, Help me”

      • evening: “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you”

      • Doxology - “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”

    • Meister Eckhart - “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is "Thank you"' it will be enough”

    • Eucharistic Thanksgiving Prayer - “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise. Eternal God, holy and mighty, it is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise, and to worship you in every place where your glory abides.”

Thoughts and Questions

  • Thankfulness as a way of being- as a church how do we model being a thankful people?

  • Is not returning and giving praise and thanks the center of our faith?

    • We return to God- thankful for what we have received

    • How are these central to our worship? Our programs? Our church life? Our Evangelism?

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7

Initial Thoughts

  • Good edit by the lectionary. Verses 2 could be read - explains setting and what the nature of the exile. Verse 3 is clerical information.

  • Whole letters goes until verse 23 - Read the whole thing

    • It includes one of the most famous lines from Jeremiah 29:11 “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Most people do not realize that this verse is sent to a people in the midst of exile. It is usually used in times of comfort to explain why things are going so good. Those who quote it often leave out the 70 years of exile part.

Bible Study

  • Literary Context

    • Part of a larger letter, telling the exiles to settle in for the long haul.

    • Chap 28 - Jeremiah has a debate with Hananiah. Hananiah says that the exile will last two years. Jeremiah: “that sounds great, but I don’t think so. I guess we’ll see.” Then Hananiah dies (which is a proof that he is wrong, Deuteronomy 18:20 ‘But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak - that prophet shall die.’)

    • After this debate comes chapter 29, when Jeremiah tells the exiles to settle in for an extended stay in Babylon.

    • Next week’s reading is Jeremiah 31:27-34, which is the making of a new covenant of restoration.

  • Verses 2-3 in today’s terms: “Our national government has just collapsed as the result of an invading foreign power. There is no remnant of the military. There is no government. The President, First Lady,Cabinet and Congress have all been exiled. All of the artists in New York and steelworkers in Pittsburgh were separated from their families and exiled as well.” (Wil Gafney, Working Preacher)

  • Differing readings of verses 4-7: Is it simply instructions to not stir up trouble when they’re gone, or is it a defiant stance to remain faithful because God is a God of all, and that even Babylonians may be blessed and used by Yahweh?

    • “Much controversy surrounds this material. Some read this in a very minimalistic fashion in which the Israelites are just being given advice for how to survive. Any resemblance to material min Deuteronomy is superficial. There is no universalism present in this material, and the Israelites are only supposed to be living in the land of Israel… I disagree with this viewpoint”  (Garrett Galvin, Working Preacher)

    • For God to tell the exiles to work for the good of Babylon is an incredible statement. It reveals the nature of God, who is the God of even the Babylonians.

    • There is a universal law of humanity that is revealed. The peace of Babylon is peace for the exiles as well.

Thoughts and Questions

  • “Seek the welfare of [Babylon] where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf.” Praying and working for the enemy is a controversial position. The people have been conquered by Babylon and forced to move. This is the same event that creates the book of Lamentations, longs series of woes, and Psalm 137. Jeremiah is saying “work for the good of Babylon.” Is it difficult to imagine an analogous position in modern times? Can we pray for Russia, ISIS.

    • “Most Western readers will not be able to identify with the originating context of Jeremiah's epistle. Some readers - African Americans descended from abducted Africans, Native Americans living on reservations distant from their ancestral lands - may identify strongly with the exilic context. In the broader American national context, we are war with forces inside and outside of our borders. And God through Jeremiah calls us to pray for those whom we see as our enemies on national and international scales - for those whose religion and culture are different from ours and those who are bent on our destruction.” (Wil Gafney, Working Preacher)

  • How does this affect the way we think about immigrants in our nation? What does it say about how we treat new people in our communities and churches? Are they simply people to be assimilated for our benefit, or are they people who bring rich customs and practices that can transform us and them? “This reading points us toward examining our congregations a little more closely. How aware are we of an immigrant presence in our churches. How do we reach out to these immigrants? As we enter into yet another debate on immigration in our country, Jeremiah has something to say to us. Rather than using the legalistic language of illegal aliens, Jeremiah invites us to see immigrants in a whole new way. Instead of subjecting people to a cost-benefit analysis, Jeremiah sees the immigrant as gift. Jeremiah sees the immigrant as someone destined to make their new society a better place, someone ordered by God in this oracle to contribute to their new society in a lasting way.” (Garrett Galvin, Working Preacher)

  • John Bracke’s summary of Jeremiah in the Discipleship Study Bible, says: “The book of Jeremiah continues to invite our prayerful pondering about what it means to live as God’s people in difficult times. Among the issues raises for people reading this ancient book in the 21st century are:” (the rest is paraphrase)

    • How is God at work in the church attempting to transform the ways we are living as God’s people?

    • How might God be at work in the social and political processes of our world, plucking up and tearing down, building and planting toward the goal of justice and peace in all God’s creation.

    • Which idols Christians now turn seeking security? How are churches working to simply build their own security over working for justice?

    • How are we still overconfident in our place as “God’s people,” without doing the hard work that is required of such a privileged position? Has ‘cheap grace’ infiltrated our churches and preaching?

    • How may we still be contributing to God’s deep grief?

2 Timothy 2:8-15

Initial Thoughts

  • 2 Timothy October mini-series

    • Oct. 6 -- 1:1-14

      • Don’t be ashamed for the testimony about the Lord or Paul

    • Oct. 13 -- 2:8-15

      • Pass on the message, share in the suffering

    • Oct. 20 -- 3:14-4:5

      • Timothy’s commission and Paul’s departure

    • Oct. 27 -- 4:6-8, 16-18

      • Final instructions

Bible Study 

  • Lectionary leaves out v. 1-7, which have a lot of sermon fodder.

    • Several metaphors that could be explored

      • Soldier

      • Athlete

      • Farmer

    • Pleas to continue to draw strength from Paul’s teaching, but ultimately, from Christ himself

  • Remember/Remind

    • Remember Paul’s teaching. Remind others of it.

    • Paul’s teaching is summed up with:

      • “Raised from the Dead”

      • “Descended from David.”

    • These two are foundations of Paul’s faith in Jesus.

    • Remember God’s Promises

    • Remind them of God’s warning

    • Remind them includes to avoid nonsense, false teaching, rumors, and bickering (but this extrapolation is cut out by the lectionary)

      • This section names two people who are practicing these false ways. Much has been made over the general nature of these warnings, when they seem to be quite pointed to certain individuals.

  • The nature of Christ (according to Karl Jacobson, Working Preacher)

    • He is the Christ, the anticipated messiah.

    • He is the descendant of David, the rightful king (anointed one) of Israel.

    • That Christ-ship and king-ship is defined by one thing: the resurrection.

    • “Paul’s most powerful theological motifs: that of sharing with Christ in his death and enduring with him in his passion. For the writer… it is this identification with Christ, the sense of a whole life caught up in Christ’s destiny, that in the end is the only thing that gives hope of making sense of even the worst suffering.

  • Paradox

    • Christ will deny those who deny him

    • Christ is faithful even when we are not.

    • These two claims seem to be a paradox

    • The first is a challenge or warning. The second is a promise of grace.

    • “The problem is that lines three and four seem to run counter to each other: If denial of Christ brings denial by christ in its train, how is it that unfaithfulness is not similarly punished?” (James D. G. Dunn, New Interpreters Bible, X, p. 844)

      • Denial is a stronger tone of deliberate public renunciation

      • Faithlessness is more passive, lack of positive than a statement of negative

    • “The point is presumably that the two lines have different purposes: the first to warn the casual and to stiffen the resolve of the frightened, the second to comfort the broken and to give renewed hope to the despairing…. However [perhaps this is] open to different interpretations, intended to stimulate more than to teach.” (James D. G. Dunn, New Interpreters Bible, X, p. 844)

    • “The big interpretive question here is how the hymn’s third and fourth lines (2 Timothy 2:12b-13a) relate to each other. People who are uncomfortable with the notion of God denying us tend to say that the fourth line trumps the third, that God’s generous faithfulness to us will keep God from ultimately denying those who falter. In contrast, others read the line about God’s steady faithfulness as indicating God’s commitment to justice: when God denies the deniers, that’s just God doing what divine holiness requires. As you consider this question, notice that elsewhere the letter holds out hope for those it considers Timothy’s opponents (2:25b-26). The overall sweep of the letter also insists that the gospel’s influence or reliability cannot ultimately be nullified by the faithlessness or destructive behavior of some.” (Matt Skinner, Working Preacher)

Thoughts and Questions

  • Two great questions posed by Karl Jacobson:

    • What if this is true, that Jesus Christ, raised from the death, means for us that we will live also? What then does that mean for us today, right now?

    • What if we sought to live our lives “enduring,” and “faithful” to that gospel? What then would our lives of faith mean for the world, today, right now?

  • What are we called to remember, and who are we to remind?

    • Remembering is a vital part of our relationship with God. We are constantly called to remember. Perhaps that uniqueness of Christianity is the drive to remind. It is not about winning souls, or convincing people of the right way to live. It is simply to remind people who and whose they are.

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.