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Year A, Advent 1, 2016 – I Saw the Light

November 23, 2016 / Molly Douthett / Advent

Hello! Welcome back to More Than Hearing! We are excited to begin our second year of lectionary podcasting! As we said way back in time when we first began (cue flashback music and wavy filter —

— which resolves into me sitting in much the same spot looking very much the same because it was only a year ago after all), we decided to start this project because we thought using the multiple intelligence theory would be an innovative way to approach the lessons. We have used it ourselves and have found this method fun, challenging, sometimes frustrating, and quite memorable! Here’s to year two!

The Old Testament reading comes from Isaiah where the prophet reveals a redeemed Jerusalem shining in the light of God’s righteousness. In the Epistle lesson, Paul encourages the Romans to live in the light of the resurrected Jesus. The Gospel passage from Matthew shows us Jesus urging his disciples to be watchful for the coming dawn of the Son of Man. The dominant theme is Light.

This week’s texts are: 

Isaiah 2: 1-5  [01:58]  – For this first Sunday of Advent, Year A, we begin in Isaiah chapter 2 with either a second vision about Jerusalem, or the continuation of the vision begun in chapter 1 – which goes to great lengths to paint a dark picture of Zion’s faithlessness and God’s righteous judgment against it. We have illustrations and special effects for seven of the eight intelligences but decided to talk about three of them in the podcast. To see what ideas or thoughts we had about the ones that did not make it, please click the link for the worksheet below. For Word smart, we look at Isaiah’s vision that people will come to the house of Jacob and be taught by God. We wonder what teachers we have had who have inspired us and how we might honor them. In Isaiah’s vision, people will come from all over the world, and we explore that image with some contemporary gathering places in our world in Eye smart. And for People smart, we use verse four as the source to illustrate ministries with veterans who are laying down weapons of war to pick up instruments of peace.

  • Primary Expressed Intelligence [03:27] –

{MWD}  Eye – While reading this passage, my mind’s eye sees a sweeping scene spiraling over Jerusalem as hundreds of thousands of people stream toward it from every direction. Not only does the visual image appeal, but the spatial relationship of a fixed point with movement radiating out from it and in toward it can illustrate Jerusalem as a focal point for God’s attention.

{D2} Eye, then Body – Like Molly, I find myself “seeing” this passage and the sites in it – temple, mountain, nations – and the movement of people. There is a strong Body image, though, with the work of beating swords into plowshares, and since this is perhaps the most powerful image of the text, it may pull rank in the end.

  • Smarts – Word [05:04], Eye [06:43], People [10:06]
  • Isaiah 2 worksheet     for all the rest


Romans 13:11-14  [12:12] – In this passage in Romans, Paul strives to convince his readers that Jesus’ return is imminent, and so the time to prepare for it is short. But he is not panicked about this timetable; in fact, he is eager to start this new day. “Wake up, get up, get dressed, it’s time to start!” We are leaving something behind when we prepare for this advent, but what is coming is definitely worth the effort. In Eye smart, we suggest using the lights in your sanctuary to literally lighten and darken the reading of this passage. For Body smart, do you still have that overly large t-shirt with Christ written on it? Try that on again! For Music smart, play the final movement of Les Miserable. And for Self smart, we ask how we might include God as we prepare for events or trips. As with Isaiah, we have other suggestions for the other smarts which can be seen on the worksheet.

  • Primary Expressed Intelligence [13:04] –

{MWD} Eye – Paul wants the Romans to understand that on this side of the resurrection, our vision is different; fundamentally altered, if we are serious about following after Jesus. No longer do we see the world simply with our eyes, but we see it with an awakened awareness of God’s presence. We see people as Jesus sees them which then begins to alter our attitudes and behavior toward them. Using night vision goggles, you could demonstrate how limited human vision really is and how seeing with the eyes of faith can expand our understanding of one another.

{D2} Self – Paul uses imagery of light and dark to drive his Roman readers to self-reflection. Which one is dominating their destiny, light or darkness? Which do their actions reflect? So I think the result is a Self smart passage.

  • Smarts – Eye [13:38], Body [15:20], Music [16:16], Self [16:32]
  • Romans 13 worksheet   for all the rest


Matthew 24:36-44  [18:09] – There are some interesting definitions for words used in this lesson, which we show in detail on the worksheet. The theme of light is implied in this passage; with the light of understanding, we see the world differently (as in Romans) and are thereby able to see God at work in the world (as in Isaiah). Jesus tells his disciples to be vigilant, watchful, and faithful as they wait for the coming Son of Man. For Eye smart, we suggest illustrating this awareness using the image of soldiers on watch, or animals watching each other in the wild. Use pictures of your parishioners in childhood to demonstrate recognizing faces. In Math smart, illustrate the difficulty with “seeing” because of confirmation bias, and in Body smart, we can talk about how our own anxiety about not knowing the future can limit our vision. The suddenness of the Son of Man coming may be like a natural disaster, so use Nature smart and talk about the quick destructive power of earthquakes or floods.

  • Primary Expressed Intelligence [18:50] –

{MWD}  Word –  Mark Davis dives deep into the Greek in New Testament passages and searches around for meaningful translations. He often gives me a lot of food for thought, and this passage is no exception. I have always read verse 40 seasoned with morality – for whatever reason (sinfulness), one of the people in these couplets is taken and the other is left behind. Yet, given the different meanings behind the Greek words used here, the taken and the leaving may have a different slant altogether. Rather than the one taken being the righteous one going to heaven, that one may be taken prisoner. Rather than being left behind to deal with the horrible reality of life on earth, the one left may be one who has escaped calamity and will be helping to rebuild the future. Words can be like keys, and in this passage, they unlock some fascinating options for preaching.

{D2} Eye – I picked Eye smart because of the repeated call for watchfulness and awareness of one’s surroundings. While we don’t know exactly what to be watching for, like any sentinel, we are instructed to keep scanning, looking, watching for the unexpected. Compound that with the spatial elements of proximity for those in the field or at the grindstone. As the other senses are left pretty much to themselves here, I think Eye smart is the dominant intelligence of the passage.

  • Smarts – Eye [19:27], Math [21:45], Body [22:44], Nature [24:55]
  • Matthew 24 worksheet  for all the rest



… in Isaiah  


… in Romans


… in Matthew


Image Credit: Light Bulb from


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