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Year C, Ordinary 11, 2016 – Do the Right Thing

June 9, 2016 / D2 / Ordinary Time

I have not seen the 1989 Spike Lee movie “Do the Right Thing“, but justice seems to be a key theme. As tension escalates on a hot August day in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a man named Mookie acts to deflect hostility away from his boss by throwing a trash can through a window. The angry mob follows suit, destroying the property, but the man and his family live. In the 1 Kings passage, there is no angry mob but there is injustice done to an innocent man who will not release his ancestral land to a king. The prophet Elijah appears at the end of this passage to confront King Ahab who seems to know he has not done the right thing (“So, you have found me, my enemy”.) In Galatians, Paul argues that allowing oneself to become fully intimate with the Risen Lord means doing the right thing is automatic because Christ lives within. And in Luke, a woman anoints Jesus’ feet because she is fully aware of how much right has been done for her by him.


This week’s texts are:


1 Kings 21:1-21a [02:00]  – In this story about a king behaving badly, we use Word smart to explore the metaphor of Israel as a vineyard with an implicit indictment of Ahab as king. We use Math smart to tell the story in terms of equilibrium. The tale begins and ends in balance with a lot of counter measures in between. Even if this story is not intended as a metaphor, to dig up a vineyard means destroying years of hard work which we look at in Nature smart. In Self smart, we take Ahab’s sulking and Jezebel’s plotting and wonder how manipulation shows up in our own hearts. 

  • Smarts – Word [03:21], Eye [04:24], Math [04:35], Music [07:30], Nature [07:38], Self [09:13]
  • 1 Kings 21 worksheet   


Galatians 2:15-21 [11:17] – Paul continues his letter to disciples in Galatia with a complex argument about justification. The word “justification” appears many times in these verses, so using Body and Music smart, we suggest attaching movement and sound to each use of that word (and others) as they are read aloud. If you choose to go this route, your worship will look and sound like a festival! In People and Self smart, we look at Paul’s argument that doing the right thing comes about not through our own effort, but because of Christ living in us. What does that look like and how does it motivate us? We use People and Self smart to investigate. 

  • Smarts – Body [12:53], Music [13:37], People [14:46], Self [16:25]
  • Galatians 2 worksheet   


Luke 7:36- 8:3 [17:15] – Like Nicodemus, Simon the Pharisee is curious about Jesus and wants to see for himself what all the fuss is about, so he invites him over for dinner. As the meal is underway, a woman appears and anoints Jesus’ feet with her tears and ointment. We wondered how the woman came to be in the house when we looked at the floor plans of 1st century Roman and Israelite houses in Eye smart. She didn’t just get in; someone opened the door to her. Simon is impressed by the woman’s actions, but not in a favorable way. Jesus understands this – and a few other things – and tells a short parable about forgiveness. We looked at parallel structures in Math smart to help demonstrate the point of the parable. In Body smart, we suggest following the woman’s example and washing one another’s – hands, because that is far less intimidating for people. (If you do choose to wash feet, let us know how it went!) And finally, we discuss the intimacy of what this woman did in People smart. 

  • Smarts – Eye [18:53], Math [19:45], Body [22:56], People [25:01]
  • Luke 7 worksheet   


Highlighted Links

… in 1 Kings 21

  • Sweet Honey in the Rock, “Greed” 
  • A photo of the Jezreel Valley
  • A map of the Jezreel Valley
  • A vineyard in Galilee


… in Galatians 2


… in Luke 7



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