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Year A, Ordinary 22, 2017 – Renverse

August 30, 2017 / Molly Douthett / Ordinary Time

Greetings!! We’re back home after some time away out West. We feel like we’ve been practicing the ballet move renverse (see the link below in Matthew) as we are a bit dizzy from all the movement. We flew to Denver where my mother picked us up and took us to her home near Estes Park. The next day we drove 150 miles to Torrington, WY, to witness the total solar eclipse on August 21. We did and it was spectacular! Then we joined an estimated 500K (or more, seriously) people on Wyoming’s highways trying to get back to Colorado. That took over ten hours. Then after spending Tuesday around Mom’s house, we jumped back into a car and went to the western slope where we rode a jet boat, bought tree-ripe peaches, and took lots of pictures celebrating Mom’s birthday. The last day, we did laundry, ate the tree-ripe peaches, and went to movie night in Mom’s neighborhood. Then we drove over 1800 miles over three days back home. It’s been an eventful week! We feel a bit discombobulated, much like Moses and Peter and the Roman Christians addressed by Paul in this week’s passages. A lot happens in each of them, too, so let’s explore how Multiple Intelligence Theory can be applied to these passages in order to give us some balance and perspective.   


This week’s texts are:  

Exodus​ ​3:1-15 [01:59]  

Being among the Top Ten stories of our faith, I wonder how many people instantly transport back in time to Sunday School when they hear this passage read? I always see Mrs. Fenn and felt board figurines in my mind’s eye. Is anyone ever tempted to yell, “No, Moses! Don’t go over there – your life will never be the same!!!” Probably not and thankfully, curiosity got the better of him as he wondered how fire did not consume the bush, and he went to go see this strange thing. We spend some time with EYE smart considering what it is that makes ground hallowed and how you could go about making your own burning bush. For BODY smart, we suggest inviting everyone to take off their shoes and to feel in their own bodies Moses’ keen interest in that odd sight. God seems to have lured Moses over in much the same way a venus fly trap or an angler fish entices prey in NATURE smart. Of course, God’s intention for luring Moses is not gustatory, but instead, God tickles Moses’ sense of wonder and invites him to do something God wants done. Moses’ questions in response are our questions when we hear a call to participate in God’s purposes – see SELF smart.

  • Smarts – Eye [2:52],  Body [5:50], Nature [7:00], Self [8:04]
  • Exodus 3 worksheet   
  • Links in Exodus   


Romans​ ​12:9-21 [08:45]

This passage is great advice for living out one’s faith in Jesus. In WORD smart, we suggest making an acrostic, that is rewrite it in such a way that the first letters of each line spell a word or message. Taking this idea to a more public scale using EYE smart, make inspirational posters and display them. We listened to many podcasts while driving across Nebraska and Iowa, and one of them linked below gave us an idea for a MATH smart illustration. For a special effect, stick with the acrostic idea, and include puzzles or matching games. Paul addresses anger and enmity in these verses so for BODY smart, we have some links to what hate and love feel like physiologically. If you are feeling particularly creative, exercise some MUSIC smart muscles and write the passage as a hymn! This passage is full of PEOPLE smart contacts, and we have three illustrations you could use to show how Paul expects us to live with people we don’t like very much. For a special effect, break the verses into three parts and invite your congregation to discuss how this advice could be lived out. If you decide to use posters, set aside some time for SELF smart exploration.

  • Smarts – Word [10:09], Eye [11:13], Math [11:52], Body [14:08], Music [14:43], People [15:15], Self [18:41]
  • Romans 12 worksheet
  • Links in Romans   


Matthew​ ​16:21-28 [19:11] 

Jesus asks some pointed and paradoxical questions about exchange rates in this passage, so we start in MATH smart with links to currency exchange and other paradoxes. The title for this week’s podcast was inspired by an article in The Christian Century (link below) written by Amy Ziettlow. What better way to include BODY smart than through dance? See our worksheet for a great quote from the article. Jesus’ insistence that he must die made us think of salmon spawning, which is a good NATURE smart illustration. For PEOPLE smart, think of a time when you attempted to “correct” a friend’s behavior – how did that go? Try presenting this passage as a Reader’s Theater (which includes PEOPLE, EYE, and BODY smart elements). Finally, for SELF smart, make a list of things “of God” and “of the world” that we spend time thinking about. How do those lists compare? What can be moved around?

  • Smarts – Math [20:24], Body [22:12], Nature [24:13], People [24:50], Self [26:08]
  • Matthew 16 worksheet
  • Links in Matthew   

Image credit: Copyright: vladimirdelic / 123RF Stock Photo. Used by permission.


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