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Pulpit Fiction Podcast

Nov 24, 2013

Opening Music: One Light by 3 Doors Down

For Sunday, December 1
Episode 39
Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, where two local pastors discuss the lectionary reading for the week.  Rooted in scholarship and grounded in progressive theology, we hope to keep the discussion lively, challenging, insightful, and from time to time a little humorous. This is episode 39 for Sunday December 1, Advent A1. We will be discussing: 

Matthew 24:36-44 - Be ready!
Isaiah 2:1-5 - The Lord’s Mountain


Primary Scripture - Matthew 24:36-44 - Be ready!

  • See Mark 13:28-37 and Luke 12:32-48
    • Parousia (coming)
  • Rapture text
  • Looking toward a new creation - the Kingdom of God
    • Christians live “between the times” of Creation and Re-creation
    • Second Exodus- people saved from sin, oppression and death
    • God is incarnate in history- not simply waiting to destroy the work
      • Noah
      • following parables - condemn those who did not care for creation
        • Stopped working (Mt 24:45-51)
        • Let the oil run out (Mt 25:1-13)
        • Wasted the talents (Mt 25:14-31)
        • Did not care for the least of these (Mt 25:32-46)
  • Literally? Why not? (Mark Yurs, Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 1: Advent through Transfiguration.)
    • You do not know when the end will come
    • Be faithful until it comes
      • keep milling
      • keep tending the fields
  • Life vs Death
    • Those who are faithful will live (like in Noah’s time)
    • Those who are not faithful will die (like in Noah’s time)
    • What does it mean to be faithful?
      • Timeline: “Be born again” - Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsey
        • You cannot predict
        • Not individual - communal
      • Individual - own personal Jesus, standing before the pearly gates to be judged
        • not individual - communal
      • Immediate - “The point is not to speculate about a day of judgment sometime in the future, whether at the end of all humanity or at the death of each individual, but rather to confront us with God's radical claims on us here and now. Each day is a day of judgment, so I should always be asking myself, Am I living in the way of Christ? Am I trusting in him alone? Have I allowed myself to be distracted by selfish cares?” - Jim Burgess, Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 1: Advent through Transfiguration.
        • not about the future- about today!

Secondary scripture - Isaiah 2:1-5 - The Lord’s Mountain

  • Exegetical Notes
    • Ch 2 is one considered an add-on by a later redactor.  It contains the second of three introductions to the work.
      • “Chapters 2-4 are a collection of sayings from the prophet’s first period, but were probably put in this position by a later redactor.”Alberto Soggin Introduction to the Old Testament
      • This passage has close parallel to Micah 4:1-4.  Not known which was first.  Micah’s promise of salvation is to Israel.  Isaiah’s is more universal in nature.
    • Pre-exilic Jerusalem - In a precarious political situation, wedged between the world powers of Assyria and Egypt.
      • Blame for Jerusalem’s position is placed on the people, who are sinful
      • Failure of the people in Isaiah “For Isaiah, too, human sin consists in a refusal to recognize divine sovereignty in the whole of life.  Dishonesty, corruption, immorality, the thirst for riches and luxury, irresponsibility or downright oppression in the social sphere, syncretistic worship are all aspects of a basic attitude of human rebellion against the divine will.” Alberto Soggin Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 312.
    • Acts as introduction to Isaiah’s theme of promise in the midst of despair.
    • Immediately precedes oracle of great devastation and despair.
  • Isaiah is the most quoted book of Old Testament in the New Testament.  Connection between promise as found in Isaiah and Kingdom of God in the gospels is easy to see.
    • Reinhold Niebuhr makes the connection:
      • “The prophet Isaiah dreamed of the day when the lion and lamb would lie down together, when , in other words, the law of nature which prompts the strong to devour the weak would be abrogated… Sometimes the contrast between the real and the ideal is drawn so sharply that the religious man despairs of the achievement of the ideal in mundane history.  He transfers his hope to another world… It is the peculiar genius of Jewish religious thought, that it conceived the millenium in this-worldly terms.  The gospel conception of the kingdom of God represents a highly spiritualised version of this Jewish millennial hope… Wherever religion concerns itself with the problems of society, it always gives birth to some kind of millennial hope, from the perspective of which present social realities are convicted of inadequacy, and courage is maintained to continue in the effort to redeem society of injustice.”  Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society, p. 61.
    • Walter Brueggeman makes the connection in Texts for Preaching: A lectionary commentary based on the NRSV - Year A
      • The vision of Isaiah is “an act of imagination that looks beyond present dismay through the eyes of God, to see what will be that is not yet.  That is the function of promise (and therefore of Advent) in the life of faith.  Under promise, in Advent, faith sees what will be that is not yet.” 
      • “Sharp contrast between what is and what will be.”
  • Centrality of Torah 
    • Justice and peace come from “The Instruction… from Zion; the Lord’s word from Jerusalem.”
    • When the nations learn the Torah, then war is no longer needed as the arbiter.  Instead, God’s will can be the judge.
    • The hope for peace lies in the Torah

Closing - 
TY: listeners
Opening Music:One Light by 3 Doors Down
Transition Music: “Purple Rain”  covered by Leroy Justice
Theme Music: Dick Dale and the Deltones “Misirlou”
TY: Closing music, Paul and Storm, “Oh No”

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