Year A, Easter 6, 2017 – Big Love
Greetings!! Sorry we’re late this week. Our son graduated from college over the weekend (YAY!), and that put us off schedule. Nevertheless, we have some cool ideas for your MI sermon prep, so let’s have a look.
You may look at this week’s title and think, “Oh, Love. Yeah, that could be any week, couldn’t it?” Well, yes, I suppose so. And if truth be told, this week’s texts don’t offer the most obvious development of love as a theme. Yet, when we poke them a bit, love is just below the surface.
In Acts, Paul cares enough for the Athenians to call them away from their pagan beliefs so they might come to know the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Peter, we hear about Jesus’ suffering as a model for our own, and his death and resurrection in which we participate through baptism, so we might be saved from destruction and be witnesses to this way of salvation. It’s a transformation of meaning of suffering anchored in the love of Christ.
Love is right there in the John passage, of course – If you love me, keep my commandments (like “Love one another”), and my Father will love you. But even more than that, Jesus invites us into the intricate love of the Trinity itself! That’s pretty radical when you stop to think about it!
It’s not always the warm fuzzy, gushy love we find in the Christian life. Just the unrelenting drive to be connected in meaningful, life-giving ways to God and one another. I mean, what would you call that?
This week’s texts are:
Acts 17:22-31 [01:59]
Paul preaches in the Areopagus to the very religious Athenians. Maybe too religious? It’s like they have a god for everything, except they don’t have the God of Everything! This Paul proclaims to them. We consider the logic of their religiosity in MATH Smart. We consider different cultural expressions of the gospel in MUSIC Smart. Give some thought with us to the forces at work behind the formation of the materials used to make idols in NATURE Smart, and think about gifts given to God from God’s point of view in PEOPLE Smart
- Smarts – Math [03:23], Music [05:00], Nature [06:24], People [09:29]
- Acts 17 worksheet
- Links in Acts
- Is Paul a little condescending?
- This book I was reading refers to the transactional nature of pagan worship
- How do we get gold, silver, stone, – stellar nucleosynthesis for starters
- “Our world, like theirs, is variously if sometimes stupidly religious. Now as then, Christianity faces attackers of all stripes: the sophisticated, the unthinking, and the powerful who are easily threatened. Anyone who considers idolatry dead in contemporary culture has not been paying attention to Wall Street and Madison Avenue, to Hollywood or Washington or Beijing.” – Clifton Black
- We mentioned a story about a boy at a Paganini concert. Apparently, it was Paderewski, not Paganini, and it is fiction. Nevertheless, here’s one version and another version of it.
1Peter 3:13-22 [10:53]
Peter writes to a community suffering for their faith. Be sure you suffer for good and not for evil! That’s just what happened to Jesus, and look how that turned out – Resurrection and glory! Just as God saved Noah from destruction, so will God do for those of us who have passed through the waters. We get alarmed over this passage in BODY Smart. In PEOPLE Smart we consider those who suffer in the line of duty and suggest doing a reaffirmation of baptismal vows (yeah, we’ve done that before, but it’s good to remember). We found some ways to combat fear and intimidation in SELF Smart.
- Smarts – Body [12:30], People [15:26], Self [16:34]
- 1 Peter 3 worksheet
- Links in 1Peter
John 14:15-21 [19:16]
Jesus continues the farewell discourse in John 14, talking about the relationship between obedience and love and being “in” one another. He offers the promise of the Holy Spirit and that we might share the same oneness with God that he himself enjoys. That’s pretty awesome! In EYE Smart we consider the reality of things unseen and encourage some imaginative seeing of some folk who may otherwise be invisible. How do you fit a round peg in a square hole? Work it out in MATH Smart. The need for connection gets a clear example in our NATURE Smart illustration. Finally, we touch on some family issues in PEOPLE Smart.
- Smarts – Eye [20:32], Math [23:02], Nature [24:30], People [25:57]
- John 14 worksheet
- Links in John