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Year B, Lent 2, 2018 – Trust Issues

February 21, 2018 / D2 / Lent

Greetings!! In a past Year B cycle, I remember doing a series of sermons about covenant based on the Old Testament lessons for this year. I was struck by how the idea of the covenant continued to narrow through the weeks. Last week, God made a covenant with the entirety of creation and this week, the covenant is with one particular person, with the intention of spilling out into the whole world. The catch is that this one person had to trust that God would be faithful to the covenant in spite of 24 years of waiting. Trust is precious, and we have all had experiences that reveal not only how strong it is but how fragile it can be. If you trust someone, you are stuck to that person like glue, aren’t you? But if that trust is betrayed – you can almost hear the shattering. All three passages for this week focus on trust. Abram and Sarai – who become Abraham and Sarah – must continue to trust God will keep the promise of a son. Paul encourages the faithful in Rome (and us today) to follow Abraham’s example and live in hope based on trust. In Mark, Peter has just made a monumental confession and must learn to trust Jesus’ definition of what Messiah will be. Let’s go see how we can focus on trust using illustrations and special effects. 


This week’s texts are:

Genesis 17:1-7; 15-16 [01:58]

This story in Genesis reminded David of launching a ship in EYE smart. The new names declare that the journey of becoming a people for God is coming closer to fruition, and I suppose if champagne were a thing back then, it would have flowed freely once Isaac was born! We have an article (link below) about some of the elements of christening a ship and a video of one happening. The illustration also carries in it some SELF smart undertones in regards to identity and destiny. For me, the story got me to thinking of a long hike, and since it is the final part of the Torah portion that translates as “go forth, I included it in BODY smart. It sparked a thought to use learning to walk as an illustration and special effect. Go to the worksheet and see the chart David constructed showing the MATH smart use of numbers and exponential multiplication. Exponential increases make an appearance in NATURE smart and connect to the later promise God makes to Abraham that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the night sky! 


Romans 4:13-25 [10:49]

Paul is encouraging the faithful in Rome to trust God by not clinging so tightly to the ways of the past – let go! This made David think of catapults, so he went and found some examples to use as demonstrations for MATH smart. (You can take the guy out of engineering, but you can’t take the engineering out of the guy. <3) I happened on a quote by Paul Tillich that referred to seeds of hope, which is a wonderful illustration for NATURE smart! We expanded the idea into a special effect, too. It also reminded David of a song by Natalie Sleeth, so MUSIC smart jumped in during the recording! We love it when the smarts do that! In PEOPLE smart, we wondered if Paul was taking the canon – or written story about Abraham as it was known then – and adding details to it that had sparked his imagination. This is called “fanon,” and we have a link to it below. [This should not be confused with “fan fiction!” We think Paul’s development is right.] We also have a meme that might illustrate Abraham’s buy-in in verse 21! And in SELF smart, we blend another quote by Tillich with some thoughts about the experiment with the catapult for some special effect questions you can ponder yourself or give to your congregation for their own cogitation.

  • Smarts – Math [12:33], Nature [15:08], Music [17:07], People [17:15], Self [20:11]
  • Romans 4 worksheet
  • Links in Romans 
    • MATH smart –
    • MUSIC smart – (this snuck in while we were recording the show – BONUS!)
    • NATURE smart –
    • PEOPLE smart –
      • According to TVTropes, entire characters or backstory have been created by fans who have taken a detail from a completed work and created an entire universe around it.
      • Abraham being “fully convinced” may have looked like this: Shut up and take my money!

SEE ALSO: Year A Lent 2 2017 for other illustrations and special effects for this passage


Mark 8:31-38 [21:36]

Jesus is being open and honest in verse 32, which bothers not only Mark Twain, but Peter. It’s possible that Peter is taking Jesus aside to say, “But you just told me not to tell anyone you are the Messiah, I’m so confused…..”. He may also have been worried for everyone’s safety or priority of possession, but Jesus is not having any of it, because he turns and rebukes Peter right back. We explore all of this in WORD smart and wonder if Jesus’ revelation of what will happen to the Son of Man is a literary use of foreshadowing. In BODY smart, we use a literary work by Solzhenitsyn to explore Jesus’ acknowledged coming experience of death. To demonstrate this acceptance, we have an idea for a special effect. Considering all the death present in our society, this could be very powerful. Use with caution and all pastoral concern. If you use this special effect, you could sing the hymn “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” while you do it – or just use the hymn as a MUSIC smart illustration. We have some illustrations about how Jesus connects his suffering and death with the pain of the world in PEOPLE smart.


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


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