Monthly Archives: March 2014

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Genesis 42:1-38 and Mark 12:1-12

Genesis 42:1-38
Mark 12:1-12
Type of Christ: not in grace but in his placement, Grace vs. Revenge, Stealing the Vineyard?

Blindness and Vision

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Text: John 9
Full Sermon Draft

This sermon attempts to show how the characters of the man born blind and the pharisees are representative of contrasting spiritual paths. The primary difference is the reaction when presented with the act of God. The primary act or work of God is His creation of the Spiritual life through water and the Spirit. If the reaction one of obedience to the Word, then the result is vision. If the reaction is one of rejection, then the result is blindness. The encouragement for the Christian life is to examine our own reactions to the work of God in our lives.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Genesis 40:1-23 and Mark 10:32-52

Genesis 40:1-23
Mark 10:32-52
Blindness and Sight, The Gift of Interpretation, Word of God

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Genesis 39:1-23 and Mark 10:13-31

Genesis 39:1-23
Mark 10:13-31
The hard call of the gospel, prioritizing Jesus and the Kingdom

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Genesis 37:1-36 and Mark 10:1-12

Genesis 37:1-36
Mark 10:1-12
The “I’m not Hitler” problem, Original sin, emotional vs. intellectual knowledge

A Prophetic Confluence

I’ve been really haunted by a few things since I read the morning papers. Today is Annunciation Day. For those who might not know, what that means is this is the Christian Holiday when Gabriel announced God’s favor in the incarnation to Mary. (Luke 1:26-38) Was it literally the day? Probably not, but it is set 9 months prior Christmas. (See, the ancient could count). Then there are two stories in the news. First the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case against the contraception mandate took place today. Second, and there is no kind way to say this, but the revelation that Hospitals in Great Britain have been incinerating abortion products as part of the recycling plan to generate electricity.

That last one, if you have any biblical history, should cause a deep shudder as offering children as burnt offerings is what Molech demanded. I’m going to quote the King James because it uses the most literal words here. It doesn’t hide the raw fact behind euphemisms of sacrifice and offering.

And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. (Lev 18:21 KJV)

Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name. And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not: Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people. (Lev 20:2-5 KJV)

And he (Josiah during his reformation) defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech. (2Ki 23:10 KJV)

And go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee, And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle. Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter. (Jer 19:2-6 KJV)

And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. (Jer 32:35 KJV)

I can’t help but feel like God is getting less subtle. This is the type of idolatry and gross immorality that should call for sack-cloth and ashes and full on prophetic rants. On the day that the church remembers the conception of Christ, we are reading about ways to prevent and eliminate the products of a conception. I know that this makes me sound nuts, but the confluence gives me pause. And what really gives me pause is that nothing will change. Lord have mercy.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Genesis 35:1-29 and Mark 9:33-50

Note, sorry about the length. I attempt to keep this is 7-9 minutes, but today’s readings were 6 mins by themselves and it was a grab bag of thoughts. If you have any I’d love to hear them or if a different section of the grab bag I skipped struck you just leave a comment.

Genesis 35:1-29
Mark 9:33-50
Henotheism, Monotheism and Modern Idols, The Romantic in the Bible, Friends and Enemies and telling the difference

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Genesis 29:1-30 and Mark 9:14-32

Genesis 29:1-30
Mark 9:14-32
Emotional Resonance, Human Christ, Daily Living

Wells, Brides and Bridegrooms

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Text: John 4:4-26
Full Sermon Draft

Of the images or metaphors of what Jesus has done for us I think husband or marriage is one the most different and compelling. And while it hovers over the entire biblical story, there just aren’t that many text that are most directly seen as a proclamation of the Bride and Bridegroom. In my reading this text is a biblical Romantic Comedy, and as such it is about the Bride and Bridegroom.

The structure used is something I’ve been playing around with occasionally, a limited use of the church father’s 4 level allegory. In my playing with this outline what I’ve found is that the literal level allows you establish the text and any connections to the modern day. In this case the text follows all of the Romantic Comedy beats. Knowing that it is such a genre, opens the door to the Typological level. Jesus is not just anyone but the bridegroom and the Samaritan woman is not just any woman but the type of the bride, the church. Following from the fourth beat of the Rom-Com script we find out what the protagonist (Jesus) wants to accomplish. In this case for the bride to know the gift of God and to know who offers it. That is the basis of the moral level, coming to know the Spirit and Word and Sacrament as the gifts of God or the living water, and knowing Jesus who offers them. The last level is the eschatological. In this case the end-times image is of the wedding feast of the bride and the lamb brought to its fulfillment in the New Jerusalem. At that time we won’t be arguing about the where’s and why’s of worship, because there is no temple in the New Jerusalem, because the bride and the bridegroom are together.

John has typically defeated me as a preacher. He’s too thick or maybe I should say not linear. This outline has helped me present texts from John. The other thing I’d add is that while allegory has a bad name because of some of the extreme uses of it, I don’t think it is wholly deserved. Most preacher’s outlines are just a collapsing of the four levels to usually two. Text-Application, often call puritan plain style or even just Wesley’s outline, is literal and moral levels typically. Hence it can often come across as all law or Jesus as our great example that we should follow. Law-Gospel usually ends up being literal and typological. You always get Christ, but also the problem with much of Lutheran preaching never actually having a moral point. True pentecostal preaching is usually literal and eschatological which gives it that on fire or otherworldly nature. If you respect the limits that you can’t say anything in the three upper levels not clearly established in the literal then I’ve found it to be a robust outline.

I’d invite you to take a look and give me any comments.

Origen on Scriptures, Word and Doctine

The gospel this week is John 4:5-26. I don’t think this works in the sermon, but something Origen comments on this Sunday’s gospel text is fascinating…

The Scriptures, therefore, are introductions, and are called Jacob’s well. Once they have been accurately understood, one must go up from them to Jesus, that he may freely give us the fountain of water that leaps into eternal life. But everyone does not draw water from Jacob’s well in the same way…Some who are wise in the Scriptures drink as Jacob and his sons. But others who are simpler and more innocent, the so-called sheep of Christ, drink as Jacob’s livestock. And others, misunderstanding the Scriptures and maintaining certain irreverent things on the pretext that they have apprehended the Scriptures, drink as the Samaritan woman drank before she believed in Jesus…The “you” refers literally to the Samaritans but anagogically to all who are heterodox regarding the scriptures. The “we” literally means the Jews, but allegorically it means, “I, the Word, and all who are changed by me receive salvation from the Jewish Scriptures.” For the mystery now revealed was revealed both through the prophetic scriptures and through the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ…if the Father seeks true worshippers, he seeks them through the Son ‘who came to seek and to save that which was lost’ purifying and educating those who he equips to be true worshippers through the Word and sound doctrine….

Sound doctrine is part of the sanctification process. It is a partner with the Word. But notice where he puts those who “misapprehend” the scriptures, outside of belief. The scriptures should lead to understanding and eternal life, but if one persists in anything but innocence then, trouble.