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Year A, Ordinary 25, 2017 – What? Where? Why?

September 20, 2017 / D2 / Ordinary Time

Greetings!! We’re publishing this with minimum show notes for now so we can get the file out. Notes are forthcoming.

And here they are!! The three passages for this Sunday involve a question of identity in Exodus (what is it?), destiny in Philippians (where do we go to serve Christ best?), and purpose in Matthew (why is following Jesus valuable?). Questions of identity, destiny, purpose follow us all though our lives so it is comforting to know that Scripture has guidance to answer them. Let’s go see what we can find.


This week’s texts are:

Exodus 16:2-15 [01:59]

One morning, after complaining to Moses about their hunger, the Israelites wake up and find something all over the ground. “What is it?” they ask and Moses answers that it is bread from heaven. The Hebrew word “man-nu” has morphed into “manna” and provides not only the asked question but deeper meaning for those who hunger for God’s presence and righteousness. In EYE smart, we link to just two paintings of the Hebrews gathering the manna; I know there is much more artwork out there! Their hunger is what drives them to complain to Moses and that reminded us of a series of commercials for Snickers which we talk about in BODY smart. Physical hunger is a massive driving force in our lives; what are some other things that hunger might lead people to do? Much ink has been spilled attempting to identify what the manna actually was; we have a link that suggests some possibilities. But like David pointed out in the show, it’s not really necessary to pinpoint what it was – the important part of manna covering the ground is that God heard the people’s complaint and responded to their need with exactly what they needed. 


Philippians 1:21-30 [12:24]

Everyone wants to avoid suffering. Sometimes, that is not possible and Paul writes to the believers in Philippi that when suffering comes, how one copes depends on how much one loves and trusts Jesus. For him, suffering is part of his ministry and how he emulates Christ who gave up eternity to come live as a human – who suffered. Paul does not discount suffering or call it meaningless; he understands the hardship very well but he does not shirk from it nor does he want the Philippians to flee from it. Suffering for the sake of the Gospel is a lived out, fully fleshed witness to one’s faith. In MATH smart, we consider the counter-intuitive nature of this advice and have some other mathematical examples in the links. In BODY smart, we wonder if being seasoned by suffering allows disciples to live more fully “in the zone”. In SELF smart, how does one’s dedication to serving Jesus make one look at one’s life in its entirety? For Paul, the answer is living or dying, we belong to Christ.

  • Smarts – Math [14:16], Body [16:18], Self [19:40]
  • Philippians 1 worksheet
  • Links in Philippians
    • MATH smart – For some mathematical examples of counterintuitive results, see this article.
    • BODY smart – This article describes a study of the physiology of “being in the zone”.


Matthew 20:1-16 [21:38]

In previous chapters, Jesus has been instructing disciples about the discipline of living together as brothers and sisters. Forgiveness and reconciliation have been themes for those in the fellowship. Now, Jesus pushes the idea of forgiveness and reconciliation outside the boundaries of the gathering and presents disciples with the challenge of allowing grace to flourish with strangers and latecomers. This parable of the vineyard workers is difficult for a culture that prizes self-sufficiency and fair wages. What is the landowner doing here, anyway? We have some links to how we think the first hour workers may have responded to their pay. This parable needs some sound effects, we think, so we have some links and suggestions for using them as the story is presented. We have some intriguing quotes from commentary linked below. In essence, God is going to give out forgiveness and grace as God will give out forgiveness and grace. We choose how to respond to that.


Image Credit: Question Mark from Used by permission.


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