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Year B, Easter 3, 2018 – Body Language

April 9, 2018 / Molly Douthett / Easter

Hey! Welcome back! This week’s passages are all about preaching – Peter preaches a sermon in Acts, Jesus gives some instructions in Luke, and the author of 1 John teaches listeners how their lives should be lived on this side of the Resurrection. The texts are all heavily weighted toward WORD smart, but oddly enough, we think the best way to explore them is through BODY smart. How might that be, you may be asking. Go ahead – ask. {waits} Glad you asked! Each of the passages include strong testimony* regarding the BODILY resurrection of Jesus. {Ta-DA!} Each passage speaks of Jesus not in the abstract, but in the tactile sense of his body being raised from the grave and present once again with the disciples. You could reconstruct each sermon using WORD smart elements or concentrate on the location of each using EYE smart. We also found a lot of MUSIC smart to illustrate the texts! Whatever preaching path you choose, be certain to emphasize the witness in each about the new reality opened up to us because of Jesus’ bodily resurrection.  

*(WORD and MATH smart elements)


This week’s texts are:

Acts 3:12-19 [01:58]

The body language in the Acts passage includes a healing that happens in the verses prior to the selection. It may be a good idea to include it; there is rich material there in itself, but it also helps illuminate the power of Peter’s witness in the verses for today. We began with EYE smart, looking at the location of the sermon and the healing. If the images we found are true to the historical building, the temple was spectacular! WOW! In MATH smart, use a chart to map out Peter’s points and names for Jesus. For BODY smart, illustrate how the ancient world (and maybe even our own world) considered the outer appearance of the man as in indicator of who he was as a person. We found a poetic construction of verses 13-15 in MUSIC smart, and I remembered a song I learned in 3rd grade Sunday School. And for PEOPLE smart, David and I ran through a short skit that sounds a lot like those cheesy TV commercials.

  • Smarts – Eye [03:17], Math [04:52], Body [05:46], Music [07:46], People [08:54]
  • Acts 3 worksheet
  • Links in Acts
    • EYE smart –
      • An artist’s image of Solomon’s Portico (click through to slide #14)
      • A 1:100 model constructed by Alex Garrard. This is truly spectacular, not only for the work itself, but also for the time and skill that went into it. 
    • MATH smart –
      • construct a chart of verses 13-15, like this:
        What you did What God did
        His servant Jesus Handed over and rejected Glorified
        Holy and Righteous One Asked for murderer instead
        Author of Life Killed Raised from the dead
    • BODY smart –
      • I recommend this article by Mikeal Parsons in the Journal of Biblical Literature, 2005.
    • MUSIC smart –
    • PEOPLE smart –
      • Try presenting the passage as a cheesy skit – we have a trial script on the worksheet linked above!


1 John 3:1-7 [10:03]

The body language in the epistle rises as the subject of conflicting ideas regarding Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances. Commentary suggests this letter is an extended sermon written to counteract creeping Gnosticism and Docetism of the era. Following this idea, we found a couple contemporary examples of letters written in response to cultural pressures in WORD smart. The author of 1 John refers to Jesus’ revelation in these verses, so in EYE smart, we offer some ways to illustrate things being revealed. Jesus’ revelation and resurrection offer a new identity to believers, and we have two poems in MUSIC smart about identity, one where identity must be kept hidden. We also have a plethora of musical options. The author of 1 John attempts to root out growing misunderstandings. This made us think about working in a garden in NATURE smart. In PEOPLE smart, the phrase “children of God” alludes to our adoption into God’s family, so we suggest a couple ways to look at adoption. For SELF smart, we have a couple questions you and your congregation could use for personal reflection. 


Luke 24:36b-48 [18:17]

Jesus himself provides the body language in the Gospel passage as he stands among his overwhelmed friends, tells them to look at his wounds and touch his body, and eventually asks them, “Got any food?” (We did not use the ideas presented in WORD smart on our worksheet in the podcast, but I think they would be a powerful way to connect to our culture’s current turmoil about brutality and injustice. Proceed with all pastoral care and caution.) We begin in EYE smart with a gadget that could illustrate Jesus’ sudden, startling arrival in the room, and the disciples’ doubt about his physicality. For MATH smart, Jesus opens the disciples understanding of their Scripture, which we illustrate with some mathematical formulae. The letters and symbols make no sense if you do not understand the ideas represented. BODY smart is all about Jesus’ body here and how embodiment is so important to making connections among human beings (PEOPLE smart). We also have some good commentaries to recommend. I just happened to tumble across the website linked below in MUSIC smart and will be going back to it in the future!

  • Smarts – Eye [20:02], Math [22:29], Body [23:17], Music [27:36]
  • Luke 24 worksheet
  • Links in Luke


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


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