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Year C, Ordinary 29, 2016 – Keep On Truckin’

October 13, 2016 / Molly Douthett / Ordinary Time

Hey everyone! Welcome to another podcast! As we prepared the passages for this Sunday, we saw that they shared the theme of perseverance. In Jeremiah, the exiles are settling into the land God has sent them to, and Jeremiah receives a word from God about their future. God tells the people that the day is coming when God will re-seed their land with people and animals and will remember their sins no more, so live into this hope and promise. The law of God will be written on their hearts, and the people will no longer need to be told to know God because their wills (hearts) will be so in tune with what God wants that instruction will be unnecessary. But not useless, as Paul tells Timothy. In fact, the instruction that he has received and internalized is exactly what he (Timothy) needs to continue with strength in his ministry, in spite of obstacles or hurdles. The widow in Jesus’ parable in Luke obviously knows this strength and how to persevere, because she pesters a judge to respond to her until the scoundrel finally gives in just to get her to go away. In each of the passages, we hear the subtext that God does not give up, that there is always hope, and that when we learn to turn our hearts to God and trust, we find within ourselves courage to keep on truckin’.

This week’s texts are:  

Jeremiah 31:27-34  [02:00]  – For me, this passage just emanates hope. I’m not sure exactly what it is; maybe those first words, “The days are surely coming, says the Lord.” They sound like the lyrics to an old song or the first lines of a beloved story. Maybe it’s the last lines of forgiveness or that scholars call this section “The Book of Consolation.” Whatever it is, we begin with Word smart and a quote from Maya Angelou. In Eye smart, we suggest showing images of abundance and a special effect using baked goods. In Body smart, we suggest using tattoos and branding as an illustration and red paper hearts, fruit, and vegetables for special effects. In Nature smart, we compare the will of a cat to the will of the people, and we look at sour grapes in People smart. In Self smart, we have some questions for you and your congregation to ponder.

  • Primary Expressed Intelligence [03:06] –

{MWD} BodyFor me, Body smart seems to be the best entry into this passage with the Lord telling the people that the law would no longer be written in stone but on their hearts. In Hebrew, “heart” may also be understood as the will or intention – the center of a person’s being. Thinking of how central the heart is to a living body, it makes sense to start with how receiving the intention of God in our inner most selves radiates outward to all aspects of our lives. Nothing is not touched by God’s call to return and to belong.

{D2} People: Since God is all about relationships, People Smart is almost always a safe bet for the primary intelligence. Nevertheless, I chose it here because of the relational imagery in the passage: God’s awareness of what has happened to the exiles, God’s hope for restoring them, and God’s creative vision of what life will be like when they all know the Lord and have torah written on their hearts.

  • Smarts – Word [04:12], Eye [04:33], Body [05:36], Nature [07:32], People [08:10], Self [09:16]
  • Jeremiah 31 worksheet   


2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 [10:02] – Paul encourages Timothy to persevere by remaining rooted in Scripture – always good advice to religious leaders. In Word smart, receiving and giving instruction reminded us of the old television games shows “Password” and “The $25,000 Pyramid,” except with less shouting and jumping up and down. Or not, we won’t tell you how to preach or teach! We also suggest the use of a thesaurus, which is great for killing a couple hours. In Math smart, we have a suggestion for a special effect that illustrates the importance of foundations. In Body smart, we used well-tailored or custom made clothing to illustrate Scripture’s excellent fit. We also look at muscle memory. We have a few suggestions for Music smart, and in Nature smart, we look at how wind can be used as a metaphor for God’s word. Finally, we have some questions and exercises for you and your people in People and Self smart.

  • Primary Expressed Intelligence [10:45] –

{MWD} SelfAs I read this passage, I found myself in Timothy’s shoes, receiving some advice and reminders from colleagues in ministry who have been at this longer than I. Even though I see this as professional tips, what Paul writes to Timothy is useful for anyone who reads and takes the Gospel seriously.

{D2} Word: John Cleese from Monty Python’s Flying Circus had a flare for writing skits that consisted mostly of lists, like the Cheese Shop sketch in which a customer names virtually every cheese on earth in hopes of buying some, but the shopkeeper is out of each one. That’s really not important now, except that I’m reminded of it by this passage where Paul lists the many ways to use the scriptures in ministry. It’s such a flowing list, broken into a few parts, that I can’t help but think that Word Smart folk will delight in this passage.

  • Smarts – Word [11:24], Math [12:31], Body [13:45], Music [15:15], Nature [15:56], People [16:48], Self [17:48]
  • 2 Timothy 3 worksheet   


Luke 18:1-8  [19:16] – Have you ever waited for something? A birthday, Christmas, the last day of classes, someone to return home, someone to remember to do the dishes, the Parousia? These experiences can truly try one’s patience and endurance. The disciples in Luke’s day were anxiously waiting for Jesus to come back as had been promised. Luke searched through Q’s files and found this parable to help.  A callous, brash judge with no respect for anyone or God finally gives in to repeated, wearing persistence. In Word smart, we suggest looking at the Greek root of key words. We have some illustration ideas for both the judge and the widow in Eye smart. Math smart will hopefully keep interpreters from equating God with the judge, and Body smart has some healthy special effect ideas. We have two contemporary hymns (link below) that use this parable as source material in Music smart. The widow can be every loud, in-your-face, worrisome movement for justice, so we look at a few groups through U.S. history that mirror her persistence in People smart. We also have some ideas for groups of people to engage in prayer and listening in special effects. For Self smart, we look at the persistent prayer for justice and how following the widow’s example can shape us to be vessels for what comes as a result.

  • Primary Expressed Intelligence [20:18] –

{MWD} People: I think Self smart is also a great place to begin with this passage, but I chose People because the need for persistent prayers for justice might be answered if everyone prays for them together. We may learn something about one another and ourselves when we join our voices to beseech God’s mercy and grace for our world.

{D2} People: Once again, the scriptures focus on interrelatedness as the heart of being the Image of God. The parable addresses our human tendencies both to hope and to despair. By showing us how persistent hope can overcome even the worst of mortals, it assures us that we will be in much better stead persistently hoping in our merciful God. So I can see Molly’s leaning toward Self smart, but Jesus definitely played the People smart card here.

  • Smarts – Word [20:50], Eye [21:51], Math [22:34], Body [23:04], Music [24:23], People [24:43], Self [26:40]
  • Luke 18 worksheet   



… in Jeremiah  


… in 2 Timothy


… in Luke 18



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