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Year B, Advent 4, 2017 – More Than Hearing, LIVE!

December 21, 2017 / Molly Douthett / Advent

Hey All!! Welcome back to More Than Hearing!

David and I have tried something for this podcast that’s different from the usual. The main idea of our podcast (applying Multiple Intelligence Theory to preaching and worship leadership) has not changed, but how we prepare ourselves for the podcast has. If you’ve been downloading our worksheets, you can see how they have evolved over the past two years as we’ve navigated this uncharted sea. In the past couple months, we’ve discovered that in order to find material for this show, we’ve devoted a lot of time to our own research – which has enriched our material, to be certain – but has also slowed us down. We have talked in the past about simply sitting down one day, turning on the microphones, and allowing our own creativity, experience, and the leading of the Spirit move us through an episode.

What we have to offer for this show is exactly that! Well, okay, I did do some research prior to starting, but for the most part, David and I do two things with this show. Part 1 is the two of us going through the Gospel passage and simply seeing where the different “smarts” can be used. You can find this on a separate post {coming soon}.

Then, Part 2, this part, we go back and look at each “smart” and offer ideas on the fly about how you could tease out corresponding material from the passage. The raw recording has a lot of dead air as we sat and waited for inspiration, but we did find material for all eight intelligences! To be entirely transparent, we then grabbed our shoes, our son, and the car keys and went to see The Last Jedi because it was getting harder not to be spoiled about the movie.

The show notes that follow are my attempts to capture what we did in Part 2, specifically. This experience was both fun (ideas coming to us in real time!) and exasperating (waiting for said ideas to show up). Depending on time constraints in the future, this may be something we attempt again. Let us know what you think in the comments below!


Luke 1:26-38

WORD SMART [02:51]

  • As an illustration, look up the meaning of the names in the passage. Mary, Gabriel, David, Joseph, Elizabeth, Galilee, Nazareth (I)
  • Sam Wells Improvisation  and Robert Gelinas Finding the GrooveThis illustration has MUSIC smart connections. 
  • As a special effect, tell the story of your call from God, or someone in your congregation may have a compelling story to tell.
  • As a special effect, identify the words that capture the movement in the story. Put those words on signs and raise them at appropriate places while the story is read or told (EYE smart connection).
  • Write a Reader’s Theater script for this passage. As a bonus special effect, use the signs from above.


EYE SMART [07:38]

  • Break out the maps to show where Nazareth in Galilee is located!
  • Make the signs for the WORD smart special effect above. Use them in the Reader’s Theater, too.
  • Commentary by Henry Langknect at The Christian Century. Mary was called by God to find a place for Jesus to call home.
  • A competition between Sienna and Florence – Art and Faith Matters
  • Look up the turf issue between the Franciscans and Orthodox in Nazareth – Grotto of the Annunciation vs. Basilica of the Annunciation. Does the exact location matter?
  • google the art of this story – abstract, modern categories. He Qi, Christinas Saj – artists
  • Lead people to use their inner eye – where is the space they might meet an angel? (This could also be a SELF smart sfx)


MATH SMART [12:33]

  • Studio 360 from PRI regarding creativity illustrates the way the brain lights up when improvising music (which we think might be like accepting a call from God).
  • James E. Loder’s The Transforming Moment – the logic of problem solving.
  • This story is a great example of the call process -> Call, Resistance, Reassurance, Receptivity
  • David tells a story about some graffiti on a rock that presented a logical paradox.


BODY SMART [18:37]

  • Gabriel uses Elizabeth’s pregnancy as evidence that God can do the impossible.
  • Mary spent time imagining what beginning a family is like. Is anyone in your congregation or anyone in their family or circle of friends considering this?
  • The Incarnation is all about the body! God in human form, Emmanuel.
  • David remembered a phrase from earlier days (that is still used). Jesus living in our hearts! (For Mary it was a little lower down.)



  • Let it Be – The Beatles
  • The words “let it be” could be considered the first chord of the Magnificat; it may be the genesis of Mary’s song since she has had some time to ponder what is happening before visiting Elizabeth.
  • As a special effect, rewrite this encounter as a song.
  • Write a poem or song titled “How Can This Be?” (This connects with MATH smart). Put this passage to music – Hamilton-like? Jesus Christ Superstar-ish? ballad?



  • Here is a link to pregnancy in the post childbearing years – IVF pregnancy
  • Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming – or, how to get your rose bushes to flower.
  • Suckering plants regenerate tissues and parts – for example raspberry, forsythia, lilac
  • Lily of the Valley is a hardy plant that sends out replicas of itself (some gardeners consider it invasive), and Aspen reproduce through shoot sprouts.
  • Stumps thought dead suddenly producing a shoot – maybe they were water stressed and had simply gone dormant. What parallel can be made between a dormant tree and Jesse’s lineage reviving in Mary?



  • David thinks Gabriel is like a used car salesman in this story! He needs to convince someone who didn’t know they wanted a car to buy one! If you choose the music/reader’s theater options above in MUSIC, WORD, and EYE, this could be your character!
  • Have you ever entered a negotiation like the one between Gabriel and Mary?
  • Do you have a call or nominating committee? How do they go about seeking people to fill positions? Does it look anything like this conversation?
  • This story is a crash course in establishing a trusting relationship! For a special effect, do a trust fall (BODY smart)!
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you had to make a fast decision? Being approached by ticket scalpers, for example.
  • Gabriel could be illustrated as a diplomatic contact or an emissary. Mary could be illustrated as the expert in a disaster movie being convinced to come help a serious situation.


SELF SMART [36:43]

  • If you include the verses that contain the Magnificat, ask this question as a special effect – what is YOUR Magnificat? what do you sing praise to God for specifically?
  • Explore the words favored one – what are some emotional reactions to this greeting? How would you respond to God calling you this?
  • Gabriel tells Mary: “Do not be afraid.” Allow some time for people to hear Gabriel saying that to them. Doing this allows for self reflection/ introspection regarding struggles.
  • Mary tells Gabriel, “Here am I.” What made the turn for Mary to be able to accept God’s call? What turn have you experienced?
  • Are any present in your congregation contemplating big life changes or issues?
  • Remember, this intelligence is very fluid – defining a name, watching or participating in drama, exploring the illogical logic of God’s actions – the personal reaction and response is unavoidable.


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


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