Year C, Ordinary 7 (Epiphany 7), 2019 – Plot Twist!
Hey, all! Welcome back! A common literary device is the classic plot twist. A plot twist can take a good story and make it either great or terrible, depending on the skill of the author and how seamlessly the new direction fits the overall story. The passages for this Sunday contain either outright plot twists or implied new directions. In Corinthians, Paul twists our understanding about the resurrection, while in Genesis, Joseph stuns his brothers by revealing himself as their long gone brother. In Luke, Jesus twists our initial reaction to enemies and gives us different tools to deal with them. I often think that Jesus was well versed in the Psalms and Proverbs because much of his teachings flesh out ideas found there.
Smarts of the Week [01:58]
A seventh week of Epiphany or Ordinary Time is rather rare, so whoot! Yay, us! This week, we are focusing on EYE and WORD smart. The worksheets can be downloaded here. –\/–
This Week’s Texts:
Luke 6:27-38 – [06:17]
Both of us thought this passage had a lot of PEOPLE smart in it. For a WORD smart special effect, select some words from the passage and write them on pieces of poster board. Then as the passage is read, show each word and then the next and the next – Bob Dylan and INXS style! Download the WORD smart worksheet to see which words David would use.
For EYE smart, do a similar exercise using images instead of words. Project them as you read the passage or as you preach the sermon. Jesus provides a road map for how to respond to our “enemies” in this sermon, so draw up a map showing disciples traveling from point A (called by Jesus) to point B (the cross outside Jerusalem).
1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50 – [13:46]
To contrast a before and after time, Paul brings Adam into his teaching about the resurrection. Adam is the “man of dust” and Jesus is the “man of heaven.” To illustrate and demonstrate these two realities in EYE smart, bring in a jar of dirt and a jar of glitter. When you speak of Adam and how we bear his image, pour some dirt into a bowl. Then, do the same with the glitter when you speak of Jesus and how we are growing to bear his image. Mix the two of them together and put into a third jar. To connect this with the Luke passage, form a person out of the dirt and then sprinkle it with the glitter as it learns to live as Jesus teaches in his sermon.
Like Jesus’ sermon, Paul’s teaching also has some key words. Prepare a fill-in-the-blank insert for your bulletin or have one on hand if you do not use a printed bulletin. See the WORD smart worksheet for a sample of which words and phrases to leave blank. You could also do a word BINGO card which would encourage people to listen for specific words to fill out their card. Or play a little “Match Game” – Use some of the fill-in-the-blanks before you read the passage, and see if people can guess the right word.
- EYE smart – [15:30]
- WORD smart – [18:19]
- see the worksheet for the sample fill-in-the-blank
Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40 – [21:34]
David thinks this psalm sounds a lot like a motivational speech! Try reading is as though you are King Henry V at St. Crispin’s Day or Aragorn at the Black Gate of Mordor (which was only in the movie) or William Wallace in Braveheart or Knute Rockne. The psalm is full of the promise that God will vindicate those who follow the law and precepts and do not fret about the wicked.
For EYE smart, think about places where people must sit and patiently wait. What sorts of images come to mind when you think about the wicked being cut off? What sorts of places are refuges in times of trouble? When the psalmist says that God will make your vindication shine like a light, shine a light!
- WORD smart – [23:08]
- EYE smart – [26:50]
Genesis 45:3-11, 15 – [31:10]
This story is a perfect example of PEOPLE smart, specifically as the relationship between Joseph and his brothers is brought into sharp relief when Joseph reveals himself to them. Yet, there is some EYE smart in the passage as he tells them not to fret about what they had done because in retrospect, God had sent him ahead of them to Egypt. Also, the brothers were dismayed at his presence, so his appearance had changed enough they did not recognize him. Since the passage jumps into an ongoing story, describe the scene, verbally recreating the space in the throne room, Joseph’s magnificent appearance, and how small his brothers might have felt in that space (Think Wizard of Oz). I just thought of that last bit.
For WORD smart, think of other literature where there is a major plot twist that utterly changes the trajectory of the story. I think Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a good example. David likes the way Ebenezer Scrooge messes with Bob Cratchit at the end of A Christmas Carol.
- EYE smart – [33:45]
- The brothers travel back and forth to Canaan several times, roughly 425 KM one way in a straight line from Jerusalem to Cairo.
- WORD smart – [38:32]
Photo Copyright : Mykola Kravchenko, used with permission