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Year A, Ordinary 31, 2017 – Follow the Leader!

November 2, 2017 / Molly Douthett / Ordinary Time

Hey everyone! We both had really full weekends this past week, which curtailed our attention to the podcast a bit. We decided to forego the New Testament passage for this week – 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 – because we were having a tough time coming up with anything “smart”. The passage itself reiterates what Paul wrote in last week’s selection, and we felt like we were simply standing in a cave yelling, “ECHO!” (echo) {echo} Instead, we concentrated on the passages from Joshua and Matthew. Joshua is about to lead the wander-weary Israelites into the land, and Jesus turns to his disciples with advice about how to follow the Pharisees and how not to. We have illustrations and special effects a-plenty! Get comfy, eat some Halloween candy, and let’s go discover how we can use Multiple Intelligence Theory to bring the word to our congregations in memorable, meaningful ways.

[Also, we’ve been having some internet connectivity issues, so combined with our other wrestlings this week, we’re really late getting the show up. We apologize for that and will do our best to do better in the future.]


This week’s texts are:

Joshua 3:7-17 [01:58]

This is it! Time to bring to reality what the people had waited 40 years to do – go home. God promises to be present with Joshua as God was with Moses and directs the new leader to gather the Israelites and prepare themselves for one last journey. Twelve men, one from each of the tribes, are to be selected (to grab a stone from the riverbed and make a memorial with them which we read about in chapter 4), and the priests are to bear the ark before the company. For WORD smart, think about using the poem linked below or writing your sermon as a first person account of this final trip. We have a couple ideas for EYE smart that can also be served as a snack for fellowship time – plus, maps! For MATH smart, we found some articles about how the Jordan River may have been dammed and just how dramatic the “heaping” waters might have been based on amounts traveling downriver. Have you ever tried to jump a puddle? We have some video clips of people (and penguins) navigating water obstacles in BODY smart, and we have clips of songs in MUSIC smart about crossing the Jordan River, which has come to stand in for leaving this earthly life for the next one. In NATURE smart, we are back to the geological structure of the river and have a suggestion for building a model. In PEOPLE smart, we discuss the ins and out of leadership and have some questions for you and your congregation to ponder in SELF smart.


MATTHEW 23:1-12 [17:32]

For the past two chapters in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus has been in direct conflict with the religious leaders in Jerusalem. He has been asked whose authority gives him to do such things, whether it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, whose wife will a woman be who has been married to seven brothers, and which law is the greatest. Jesus has responded with parables and questions of his own. Those who seek to discredit him are done in; I imagine them lying about exhausted and reeling from their attempts. Jesus then turns to his disciples and pointing to these guys, tells them that because of the office – being on Moses’ seat – they are to do what the leaders say, but don’t do as they do. We take this idea and in WORD smart suggest playing an increasingly complicated version of Simon Says until the rules for the game become so obscured it cannot go on anymore. Jesus points out the leaders’ hypocrisy and pride of place, and in EYE smart we have some ideas to use to catch the visual attention of your congregation. Also, have you ever turned off your GPS because you “know where you are” only to find out you don’t? Never happens to me! (Watch out for the lightning bolt.) Jesus seems really to object to the heavy load that the leaders have made of the Law, and so we have a way to demonstrate that weight in BODY smart. We know a lovely song suggested below for MUSIC smart. In PEOPLE smart, we have links to some articles that explore the social and interpersonal dynamics of what Jesus may have been doing. Finally, in SELF smart, we have some questions and a link to an intriguing study about power and how it influences us in subtle ways. I may not look at cookies the same way again!



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


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