Year C, Ordinary 14, 2016 – Good Infection
Greetings!! In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis referred to Christian life as a “good infection.” One would be forgiven for scoffing at this oxymoron – how can an infection be good? Naaman, who is the central figure in the Old Testament passage, might wholeheartedly agree as he was suffering from leprosy. He was eventually cured of his disease after some wise words from his servants and a decision to get off his high horse. In the Luke passage, Jesus sends out seventy disciples into villages and towns where he intends to visit himself on his tour to Jerusalem. To me, this sending out seemed a lot like a viral infection where a receptive host cell welcomes visitors – but after this point, the analogy breaks down, because the intention of a virus is to make a host do all the reproductive work on its behalf, while the disciples’ intention was to bring Jesus’ peace and prepare for his arrival. In Galatians, Paul finishes his letter by encouraging disciples to live their lives in Christ bearing one another’s burdens. For Paul, Jesus’ death and resurrection have so altered reality that we live in an entirely new realm now where anything that once weighed us down or harmed us is not only part of the past, but not even registering on the present radar.
This week, David and I are doing something a bit different with the passages. Rather than go through them looking for anything that resonates with one of the eight intelligences, we decided to read the passage and get a sense of what we each determined is the “Primary Expressed Intelligence” (PEI), that is, what intelligence seems to be central to the passage, leaping off the page, as it were, and why? Once we each identified the PEI, then we could imagine how someone with a different intelligence might be able to connect to the passage. In some ways, it isn’t that much different than what we’ve been doing, but we go a little more in depth with the PEI before delivering other illustrations and SFX. (The change also meant we went a little longer than usual, but not too bad.)
Let us know if this approach is helpful or not!
This week’s texts are:
2 Kings 5:1-14 [01:59] – While leprosy still exists in our modern era, it is no longer the dread disease of yore. Bacteriology and virology have given us many tools to treat and prevent infections. We no longer need to bathe seven times in the muddy Jordan River to be cured. But in the Bronze Age, the disease was life changing, and anyone suffering from it would go to great ends if a cure could be found. In this story of Naaman’s healing, David thought that People smart was the Primary Expressed Intelligence, mostly because the story plays out with so many different characters – kings, and army generals, and prophets, and servants. In fact, it is the servants whose knowledge and persuasion give this story its movement. I thought the PEI was Self smart mostly because the decision to do what was necessary to be healed came after Naaman’s internal struggle with his expectations and pride. We used Math to count the cost of ancient health care and suggest Music can be used to express the assumptions and realities of our search for health and wholeness.
- Smarts – Math [07:07], Music [09:55], People [03:08/10:58], Self [04:39/11:20]
- 2 Kings 5 worksheet
Galatians 6:(1-6), 7-16 [11:40] – Paul is done. Not only with his letter to the disciples in Galatia, but with the argument that the past has any sort of control over the present. For him, Jesus’ death and resurrection has taken everything that came before, shaken it up, turned it upside down and inside out, and painted it a new color that does not exist in nature. Life is NEW. David thinks the Primary Expressed Intelligence is Math smart because Paul exercises logic to make his point. I thought the PEI is People because the logic used in this passage leads us to live in ways that express Jesus’ love and mercy. We look at the motivation of the “other” teachers in Word smart and wonder what types of ways our bodies might bear the mark of God on them in our day and age in Body smart.
- Smarts – Word [18:55], Math [15:48], Body [21:14], People [12:58]
- Galatians 6 worksheet
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 [22:27] – Is Jesus Patient Zero? In terms of living a new life in God’s realm, yes! Even before the resurrection, Jesus was giving people the chance to live different. In the passage from Luke, Jesus sends 35 pairs of disciples out to towns and villages to prepare for his eventual arrival. He equips them with nothing other than the opportunity to live by faith, trusting that their needs would be met and that they would be okay. We both thought this passage was full of People smart. David thought so because of the nature of the teams being paired up and sent to homes. I thought of it in terms of what was expected once they got there. We spend a bit of time on this smart but have some observations for Math, Eye, and Nature as well.
- Smarts – Eye [27:50], Math [29:37], Nature [27:50/31:10], People [23:40]
- Luke 10 worksheet
… in 2 Kings 5
- Weights in the Bible
- Jewish Logic
- Leprosy Eradication
- Social stigma of leprosy and HIV/AIDS
- The Rivers in Damascus
… in Galatians 6
- What is a “notch on your belt“? or a “feather in your cap“?
- Was Paul’s own handwriting like this?
- Many hymn suggestions for this passage!
- Elizabeth Johnson at Working Preacher
- Rebuilding Hope In New Orleans, a ministry of St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church
- Some interesting Greek in this passage
- William Loader’s commentary
… in Luke 10