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Year C, Advent 3, 2015 – Wells of Salvation and Joy

December 8, 2015 / D2 / Advent, Feedback Loop

Greetings! We’re so glad you have joined us here at More Than Hearing! Whether you have been with us from the beginning (a whopping three weeks ago) or are just now finding us, we are so pleased you are here. This podcast covers the third week in Advent for the Lectionary Year C.

We have sermon illustration ideas for the four passages and some fun options for the special effects. Sermon illustrations are – sermon illustrations!! Ideas you can use to speak about a particular text in a way that engages your congregation’s imagination. Special effects are ideas for props or experiences you can do with your congregation that include having them move about, spend time in silent reflection, turn to neighbors and share stories, have a guest speaker talk about their expertise, even break out newsprint and markers and draw graphs and mathematical equations.

This week, we are adding a feature at the end of the podcast called “Feedback Loop” where David and I will talk about using either an illustration or a special effect and how it went. This week, we talk about the triumphs, trials, and tribulations of Chia Pets. Ufda.

The lessons for the week are:

  1. Zephaniah 3:14–20  –  The third Sunday in Advent is traditionally known as Gaudete or Joy Sunday and in verse 17, the prophet says that God will rejoice over Zion with gladness and renew them with his love, exulting over them with loud singing. Isn’t that a thought, that God would sing to us? Chills. Using this thought, how might you write a song of praise with GOD as the voice singing to us?
  2. Isaiah 12:2–6  – The second reading is the source for the title up above – “with joy you shall draw waters from the wells of salvation”, says Isaiah. This got us to thinking about water and its importance in our lives and for our bodies. If you are interested in what people are doing to ensure and provide potable water, you can check out Clean Water Initiatives or Global H2O for information about work being done in the world to bring clean water to people who need it. This is a concrete way to link Isaiah’s metaphor of God’s deep salvation and a much needed salvation in our world.
  3. Philippians 4:4-7  – We are sticking with Philippians for another week, reading from the passage where Paul practically sings for joy in his letter. Commentary notes the irony of this as he was writing this letter from jail – not always a place associated with soul lifting joy. William Loader, professor emeritus at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, writes: “Paul’s sense of joy is not the absence of pain or fear, but the presence of Christ, in whom he places his hope and trust.” Paul finds joy in his circumstance because Jesus goes before him and comes along side him, buoying his spirit and giving him joy. To illustrate the weight of sorrow (and in Luke’s passage, sin) use a rock to demonstrate long term effects on a person’s body and spirit.
  4. Luke 3:7–18  – Today’s passage picks right up where last week’s left off with people streaming out to the wilderness to see John who greets them by calling them a brood of vipers. We re-visit the idea of fire from last week’s Malachai passage by wondering just what John meant that one was coming behind him who would baptize with fire. We also consider what John meant when he told the brood of vipers to bear fruit worthy of repentance. If you have a master gardener in your congregation, or a horticulturist, ask that person what is needed to encourage a plant to bear fruit. What do we need to do to bear fruit?

These commentaries particularly inspired us:

Thank you for spending some time with us. David and I love to “talk shop” about the Bible and theology, and we hope that some of that energy floats through WiFi and opens a door or window for your reflections. We provide a LOT of stuff each week, so consider this a kind of smorgasbord; use what appeals to you and leave the brussels sprouts for someone who likes that kind of thing.

Blessings on you as you lead and are led through Advent!

Molly

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