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Year C, Ordinary Time 4, 2016 – Prophet Margins

January 26, 2016 / Molly Douthett / Epiphany, Ordinary Time

I See What You Did There

We are a little slap happy this week – we spent a several hours over the past two days moving hundreds of cubic feet of snow off our driveway. Thanks, Snowzilla! As we were shoveling, our music devices ran out of batteries at about the same time, so we hashed out some ideas for the passages for this week. We have some ideas for Eye Smart for three of the passages and Math Smart makes some appearances this week, too! The Psalms are always a home for Music Smart – we have a few suggestions. In 1972, Hal Hopson wrote a hymn that comes right out of the Corinthians passage called “Though I May Speak” using an old English folk melody. Also in the Corinthians passage, we cover an engineering term called deformation. I learned something with this one!

This week we have a huge Links section; many ideas for advocacy, ideas for using film clips to illustrate how “speaking truth” is hugely challenging but oh so necessary, and a way to make a Roman arch using a potato. Really. Please look them over, use what you can, and let them spark your own prophetic imagination. Have fun!


This week’s texts

Jeremiah 1:4-10 – Do you remember your call to ministry? I do, vividly! In this passage, Jeremiah relates his call to be God’s prophet. As in most stories in the Bible about someone receiving a call from God, Jeremiah is initially resistant. “But I’m only a boy”, he insists. The thing about a call from God is that it comes to whom God wants, when God wants. It’s entirely possible that God could have waited for Jeremiah to grow up a bit, but God wanted Jeremiah at that time. God wanted Moses at that time, God wanted Mary at that time, God wanted Saul of Tarsus at that time. In today’s passage, God refuses to accept Jeremiah’s demurral and tells him that God’s own words would be in his mouth. What is more, he would be given the authority to oversee a time of upheaval and renewal for God’s people. How is God speaking through you to your people during times of upheaval or renewal?


Psalm 71:1-6 –  The Psalmist calls on God to be a rock of refuge, fully trusting God would comply. With hundreds of thousands of refugees in our world today seeking shelter, this prayer for deliverance is timely.  The images of shelter and protection in this psalm gave us the idea to use a large cardboard box to illustrate the effect of captivity on the human body and spirit. Being trapped in a small space could be tied in with the Jeremiah reading about the courage one needs to speak God’s word, too. If you choose to use this special effect, you may wish to issue a trigger warning to those in your congregation who have gone through or are going through their own captivity. However you choose to use this Psalm, emphasize the power of God to break chains and bring release.

  • Eye, Body, Music, People, and Self Smarts
  • Psalm71 worksheet


1 Corinthians 13:1-13 – I’m listening to music from the 80’s as I write these show notes and the title of a hugely popular song that came from a hugely popular movie would be the perfect title for this passage. I’m not sure I want to give you an ear-worm, but if you think of Doc Brown, you’ll know what I mean. Sorry. At any rate, Paul continues to give instruction to the Corinthians in his letter, and today’s passage is about the nature of love. Show of hands as to how many have been asked to use this for a wedding? (Raises hand.) Or used it in your own wedding? (Raises hand.) It works for weddings when the preacher emphasizes the eternal quality of love, especially as God revealed it through the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We utilize a math smart approach to talk about love’s lasting endurance and give you ideas for illustrations and special effects. How does your congregation manifest God’s power of love?


Luke 4:21-30 – As we tossed shovelful after shovelful of snow onto ever growing piles on the side of the driveway the other day, we spent a lot of time discussing this passage. We agree that while it is instructive about Jesus’ intention to move his ministry outside the boundaries of what was expected of him, it is also a bit shocking and frustrating as to why Jesus pushed back so hard at his hometown people. I wondered if it wasn’t because they referred to him as “Joseph’s son” – he had just been baptized and heard the Spirit of God refer to him as the “Beloved Son”. Maybe he was correcting them but goodness – why use a fire hose? David expressed frustration that this story is so out of character for Jesus, especially as his hometown experiences are quite different in Matthew and Mark. We suspect the context of the passage – the reason Luke has this hometown visit devolve into mob mentality – requires more exegesis than we did for this podcast. If you have any insights, we would love to hear them!

  • Eye, Math, Body, and People Smarts
  • Luke 4 worksheet



Jeremiah 1

Eye Smart

  • Some movies with the theme of truth telling, whistle blowing, or standing up for justice. Most of them are “R” rated.
  • This is a very short list and by no means exhaustive. Add to it if you wish. Do you know anyone who has stood up to corruption or for their own dignity?


Psalm 71

Music Smart


Body Smart

  • This link is a clearing house for world wide efforts to combat human trafficking
  • This link is for Exodus Cry  which specifically combats sex trafficking
  • Exodus Foundation  addresses the epidemic of incarceration in the USA
  • Wings For Life is a ministry designed for the families and children of prisoners


1 Corinthians 13

  • Making a Roman arch, with “love” as the keystone at the top.
  • How to make an arch out of a potato! And here is the audio clip on that topic from the Naked Scientists podcast from the University of Cambridge.
  • A Wikipedia link to deformation.


Luke 4

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