Year C, Advent 4, 2018 – Love
Hey! Welcome back to the show! We’re rushing into the last few weeks of December as though we are on a horse that has seen the barn. Or, if your experience does not include riding horses, like a toddler who has seen the play house! As I’m typing this, David and I are listening to SpaceX abort a launch because the window of opportune time got away from them. I suspect the prophet Micah saw time running out for the people of Judah, but he had no way to stop the process. Assyria was coming and nothing would change it. The Psalmist laments that God has allowed the people to eat and drink tears, yet still hopes for a time when God will shine forth on them. In Hebrews, Jesus himself declares the time of ineffective sacrifice to be over, and in Luke, Mary sings of a time when God will fulfill the promises made to her ancestors. In the midst of all this rushing, sieging, lamenting, and singing, we have to wonder – where is the love?
David and I wondered about this picture attached to this post; is the person dangling beneath the heart as though holding on or standing still and lifting it aloft? How we see that may determine where’s the love!
The Smarts of the Week [Self-02:24, Nature-04:06]
Worksheets for C Advent 4
The texts for the week are:
Micah 5:2-5a [05:18]
Each of us was captured by the idea of something small becoming great, either through its own actions or as a base of operations for someone or something else. In SELF smart, David took a look at how heroes are sometimes portrayed in television and movies. For an added bonus, he supplies a real life example of a Great Hero giving up all the trappings of power in order to return to the simpler life left behind. Small things got me to thinking about ants and dust and seeds. NATURE smart can be a lot of fun – I can also attest it will lead the easily distractible down many rabbit holes!
- NATURE smart – [11:34]
- SELF smart – [07:20]
- The “Humble Hero” characterization from tvtropes.org
Psalm 80:1-7 [15:31]
Sometimes, the ideas David and I have for our respective smarts are so similar they step all over each other. Other times, they couldn’t be further apart. I think this is one of those latter times. For SELF smart, David was struck by the psalmist calling out for help; it reminded him of a particular scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I love his nerdy self! It’s a good illustration, too. I was intrigued by the call for God to shine forth. What kind of light would God shine? Helpful light, of course!
- NATURE smart – [16:30]
- Ultraviolet light is used as a way to purify water by killing harmful bacteria. (This useful UV light is at a frequency of about 325-400 nanometers, while black light for parties and such is around 250 nanometers, which is why they aren’t interchangeable.)
- Sunshine nourishes plants through photosynthesis.
- SELF smart- [18:55]
- “Q-Who?” from season 2, episode 16 of Star Trek: The Next Generation illustrates the psalmist calling on God for help. You can watch the climactic scene here, starting at about 37:00.
Hebrews 10:5-10 [23:46]
The author of Hebrews has written a very long sermon about Jesus and his perfect role as priest and sacrifice. The intent is to educate, support, and encourage members of this new way who have come from the ancient path of Abraham’s journey. In these verses, Jesus himself speaks to his role as the sacrifice that fulfills God’s will. In NATURE smart, I read that Jesus is quoting Psalm 40 in verse five. Receiving the Word may be like a seed in the ground receiving moisture that prompts germination. For SELF smart, David thought of a family story about someone not being pleased with what was offered.
- NATURE smart – [28:07]
- Receiving the Word of God may be compared to a process called imbibition.
- I’m forcing a NATURE smart to this passage by suggesting Jesus is “taking up” (rather than abolishing), which can be illustrated by gathering food.
- I did not mention this illustration in the podcast but a Killdeer will attempt to distract a predator away from its nest by faking a broken wing. It “sacrifices” itself in an effort to protect its young.
- SELF smart – [25:18]
Luke 1:39-55 [32:04]
I just today read Jill Duffield’s commentary on this passage. I highly recommend taking a look; you’ll see Mary very differently based on Duffield’s comparisons with other women in Scripture called “blessed.” If nothing else, this essay could provide some deep reflection, which is a hallmark of SELF smart! David had a couple other items for reflection; a long awaited ruling after the 1984 riots and killings in India after Indira Gandhi’s assassination and a news story about a “golden parachute” failing to open. In NATURE smart I like the idea of repairing a lumpy lawn, reflecting Mary’s song of praise.
- NATURE smart – [32:40]
- SELF smart – [36:08]