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Year C, Ordinary 20, 2016 – Long Division

August 11, 2016 / Molly Douthett / Ordinary Time

Remember long division? I remember loving the problem solving aspect of learning this math and was entirely blown away when my mother showed me how to do short division. I adopted Mom’s technique and have never looked back. The passages we have for today’s lectionary readings speak directly about division, especially the Luke passage. In Isaiah, the prophet alludes to division when God decides to let the beloved vineyard go to seed. Breaking down the protective walls and ripping up the carefully tended vines seemed to be God’s final response to the deep disappointment of foul grapes. The metaphor is that God was going to allow God’s beloved people to be disciplined by their own lack of discipline; sometimes, you just have to let someone find out for themselves how very off the road they are before they will accept an offer of help. The Hebrews passage encourages followers of The Way to look to the long history of faithful, obedient ancestors for help to run their own races. In Luke, Jesus takes the tough love approach of his Father and states explicitly that he comes to bring division – but not just for the sake of division. There is a purpose to it.

This week’s texts are:  

Isaiah 5:1-7 [01:56]  – Sometimes, a passage presents one of the intelligences in a distinct way, and this lesson has a very strong flavor of nature. We both decided that Nature Smart is the Primary Expressed Intelligence due to those vivid images of planting a vineyard. Neither one of us is very good at growing things – even though we have some tomato plants that are going gangbusters out on the deck this summer (What happened? How did we DO that?) – but even we understand the heartbreak and discouragement that comes with crop failures. God’s disappointment could be mirrored in the expressions of the refugees escaping the Dust Bowl, searching for a new home in California in the 1930’s. There is no choice but to let the ground go fallow and hope that time spent in the wilderness will yield earth better suited for planting in the future.

  • Primary Expressed Intelligence [03:00] – {MWD} Nature,  {D2} Nature
  • Smarts – Word [03:51], Music [05:46], Nature [08:30]
  • Isaiah 5 worksheet   


Hebrews 11:29-12:2 [10:16] – For Word Smart, we suggest using definitions for the word “hero” to illustrate heroic qualities. For a special effect, take those definitions and put them into a word puzzle (see links below) that could be worked during the sermon or taken home to discuss as a family. We use Math Smart to explore the logic of following Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. I think the Primary Expressed Intelligence for this passage is Body Smart, and the 2016 Rio Olympics is a great example for illustrating running a race with perseverance. For a special effect, we have interpretive movement! (see link below). David thinks the PEI is People Smart and has some questions that blur between illustration and special effect.

  • Primary Expressed Intelligence [11:10] – {MWD} Body,  {D2} People
  • Smarts – Word [12:11], Math [15:22], Body [16:18], People [17:38]
  • Hebrews 11/12 worksheet   


Luke 12:49-56 [18:58] – We really like to think that being people of faith means our lives will be blessed with good things, and they are! But sometimes, we distort those blessings; we idolize them or close them off for personal use or fail to see them as blessings. Jesus seems to have had his fill of this distortion at this point in Luke’s gospel. He states plainly and definitively that what he brings is not peace but division. Ironically, the division he brings will lead to peace, but not the way the world understands it. In Word Smart, we look at how revising an old saying illustrates Jesus’ intention. In Eye Smart, we suggest taking a visual tour of the neighborhood, making careful note of signs. In Body Smart, we talk about baptism and in Nature Smart, we go with Jesus’ illustration of reading the signs of nature. I think the PEI is People Smart and David thinks it is Self Smart. We have some illustrations as to why.

  • Primary Expressed Intelligence [19:49] – {MWD} People,  {D2} Self
  • Smarts – Word [20:21], Eye [21:26], Body [23:12], Nature [24:08], People [27:22], Self [29:06]
  • Luke 12 worksheet   



… in Isaiah  


… in Hebrews


… in Luke


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