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Year A, Ordinary 29, 2017 – Glory!!

October 18, 2017 / Molly Douthett / Ordinary Time

Remember when MTV played music videos? I remember this one making the rounds often – U2’s Gloria. I was just beginning to awaken to my own walk of faith in 1981, and this song later became a private anthem for me. Bono simply sings the phrase “Gloria, in te domine, Gloria, exultate” (Glory in You, Lord / Glory, exalt [Him]) over and over like a Taize chant with drums and The Edge. The Exodus passage for this Sunday is specifically about God’s glory. Paul is so thankful for (and impressed with) the Thessalonians growth in Jesus that he knows God is glorified in it. The theme of glory in the Matthew passage is not apparent until we push the idea of giving back to God what belongs to God and discover the glory underlying all of creation. So, let’s go look at what we did with Multiple Intelligences and find where we can assist you with illustrations and special effects.


This week’s texts are:

Exodus 33:12-23 [01:58]

Echoes of the golden calf debacle resound in this passage. It is time for the company to move from Sinai to the Promised Land, and God tells Moses that He will send His angel before the people because He knows the people are “stiff-necked” (33:4) and, we may assume from this, still prone to wander and prove they didn’t learn anything. Moses will have none of that, please. It is vitally important that God’s presence accompany them the rest of the way, and he appeals to the relationship they have to convince God to do so. God has a real soft spot for Moses and agrees. Moses presses on a bit and asks God to show him His glory. God tells him He will make His goodness pass before him, and Moses will hear the Name proclaimed. In WORD smart, we wonder how you would describe God’s glory going before you. For EYE smart, we suggest some artists’ interpretations of God’s glory. Moses’ plea to God centers around the favor he has found in God’s eyes, which made us think of a song by Olivia Newton-John. God’s presence will function like a sluice way, which we explore in NATURE smart. We also wonder why a rock would crack, although it’s good for Moses that they do!


1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 [11:53]

Paul writes this letter to the believers in Thessalonica to follow up with them since he was forced to leave their company after only three weeks with them. He begins his letter by telling them that he and his companions always give thanks to God for them because of their ready faith and growth. They have been such receptive soil for the seeds Paul planted that neighboring regions have heard about them, and this word has gotten back around to him, which pleases him greatly. In EYE smart, we suggest hauling out maps to show where Thessalonica is in the world. Also, to illustrate how they learned by following a pattern given by Paul and his associates, we suggest using furniture construction diagrams, Martha Bakes, and a particular roadblock on the reality show The Amazing Race. Imitation is the most sincere flattery, and in MATH smart we think fractals could be fun as an illustration of imitation and repetition. Keeping with the learning by doing thought, we think batting practice, dance instructions, and training for a marathon are good illustrations in BODY smart. To pull in a bit of MUSIC smart, teach some hand motions for songs, which works for both intelligences. Also for MUSIC, do you have anyone who plays trumpet or bagpipes? Is your choir up for singing a processional? We have some ideas on the worksheet. 

  • Smarts – Eye [13:25], Math [15:39], Body [17:53], Music [20:25]
  • 1 Thessalonians 1 worksheet
  • Links in 1 Thessalonians
    • EYE smart
      • Show the Via Egnatia
      • Amazing Race, Season 29, Episode 9 recap with mannequins that must be arranged exactly as demonstrated. This is just a recap; I couldn’t find the episode itself. The detour (we said “roadblock” in the episode) we mentioned is described at 05:43 in the video.
    • MATH smart
      • Fractals– this link goes to a series of lessons about fractals
      • Make the paper fractal from the book Jurassic Park by following these instructions
      • Here is a video of a deep Mandelbrot set where you get to see the repeated patterns we mentioned. Although we didn’t mention this video. There are plenty others like it, too, mostly with better music. Just search for “deep Mandelbrot set zoom”.
    • MUSIC smart


Matthew 22:15-23 [21:56]

Previously in Matthew, Jesus has been schooling the authorities about authority. They aren’t taking too kindly to it, and at the beginning of this passage, they get the idea to use Jesus’ own words against him. So, intending to trap him between a rock and a hard place, Herodians and disciples of the Pharisees ask Jesus a question about paying taxes to the emperor. I’m pretty sure everyone will be distracted by thoughts of their own taxation, so start with EYE smart, and ask people to get out a coin or paper bill and look at who’s head is on it. Then read the quote by Brian Stoffegen on our worksheet – is our money political propaganda as Roman Imperial coins were? We have a special effect that also works with MATH smart in that it demonstrates sets and subsets. There is a lot of play acting going on in this encounter and Jesus knows it and is having none of it. We have some ideas in PEOPLE smart to illustrate how natural enemies will band together to oppose a common one. Finally, for SELF smart, we have a devotional idea that you and your congregation could practice for a while and see if it makes a difference how God is glorified in your words and actions.  


Image Credit: Copyright: _ig0rzh_ / 123RF Stock Photo. Used by permission.


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