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409: Advent 4B (12/20/2020)

by Eric Fistler
December 13th 2020
you are listening to the pulpit fiction podcast for those who looked up Ezekiel 25 17 and we're sorely disappointed. Way. Welcome to the Pulp Fiction podcast election. Every podcast for creatures seekers and Bible geeks. This is Episode 409 for Sunday, December 20th 2020. The fourth Sunday of Advent of Year B. Today, our first reading. A second Samuel Verse, Chapter seven, verses one through 11 and verse 16. We've got That's Nicole Cox will bring our voice in the wilderness. With that, our Psalm is gonna be some 89 with Richard Brekford. Culligan. Uh, gospel reading is a big one where we have sort of a bonus episode. It's Luke one, Chapter 26 to 38 3 enunciation to marry. But we're going to share with you a little bit more because a lot of people we

want to go farther than that. It will be enunciation, a little bit of visitation and the Magnificat as well. And our final piece on Romans, Chapter 16, verses 25 through 27. I am robbed McCoy, United Methodist pastor here in Rock Island, Illinois, and I'm joined by my good friend and co host from the shining shores of Crystal Lake. Eric Whisler. How you doing, Eric? Uh, it's been a day. It's been weird and technical lot technology has been weird. And it's 2020 and I just e feel like like I, like most of us were just doing what we can to get through the day and that that I feel like that sums up, you know, we're starting 30 minutes late because Facebook to being weird. Uh, yeah. Anyway, so it's it's good to be here. Um, yeah, it's good to be here. I guess that's where I'm at right now. Um, but But anyway, yeah, it's Christmas, So we're just trying to get all that stuff done. I trying to trying toe think about Lent and getting those things done. I just want to throw in a

quick plug here for sanctified art. Uh, they just released their Lenten information, which is really great. So, um and so their their new lent program is awesome. It's called, uh, on and on. I think it is again and again, I think, or something like that. But it's really it's really good. So I feel like will be a good fit for folks. So that's my brain has, like, moved onto that, unfortunately, onto Lent and also into video editing. I've never spent so much time video editing before in my life. But, yeah, we're by vocation. Now I feel like we're TV producers and preachers, and that's just how it is. Uh, you know, we had a little bit of fun on our Facebook page. We released the 12 Christmas movies and what three are the essential? You could only watch three, and we don't want to take too much time on this because I know we've got a lot to cover. We've had, Ah, some responses. We've had a decent amount of responses already. Um, I know. For me, it's a It's

a wonderful life. It's a Christmas story, and then it's a toss up between Elf and Christmas vacation. Those two comedies. I love them both. I think I lean toward ALF just because it's a little bit more family appropriate. Christmas vacation has a few moments where you kind of cringe with the little ones. Um, but but they're both great. I don't know. What about you? Do you have a three? That if you could only watch three for the rest of this. Well, I'm very happy. I'm very happy that you waited as long as you did to post this, because I've already seen the classic Christmas movie die Hard. That that's just needs to happen on day. For all of you who are like it's not a Christmas movie. It is a Christmas movie. It said it Christmas, Uh, great Christmas music. And you could argue that Die Hard is more of a Christmas movie than it's a wonderful life. It has mawr Christmas themes and Christmas illusions. Um, then it's a wonderful life does. But that's that being said, It's a wonderful life. Is my number one. I love that movie. But anyway, go ahead. Yeah, so I will say, having already seen diehard already seen Christmas

vacation, it made this a lot easier for me. It's a wonderful life. I'm like you every Christmas Eve Done, Charlie Brown Christmas. No question. That's actually my favorite. I actually like that better than it's a wonderful life. How the Grinch stole Christmas, too. Uh, how the Grinch stole Christmas as wealthy original how the Grinch stole Christmas. I will say, if I'm going to do a Christmas Carol, I've gotta have their go Muppets or George C. Scott though I don't know who the weird guy is And yours and the picture here I don't know that one, but those are my go twos And those are the ones I'm gonna watch But I can let a Christmas Carol slide It's a wonderful life, Charlie Brown Christmas Grinch stole Christmas Those air musts those have toe the one that I picture if I could take it or leave him Um And I think people a lot of people call Ellis the Alastair Sim version The best one. I I like the Muppet Christmas Carol. If I'm gonna pick a Christmas Carol, it's the Muppet One and the Christmas, The Charlie Brown Christmas And how the Grinch stole Christmas. I read those. We've got a great story book versions of those. And so, um

, in fact, I just want to share this real quick A cup? The night we decorated our tree, I we kind of we found again the Christmas Charlie Brown Christmas book which my sister had given me a couple years ago. She knew how much I liked the peanuts and We were listening to Christmas records at the same time, and I was So it's just the background music. And as I was reading, um, just as Linus started his monologue, Silent Night started. It was like this incredible, like moment of and I could hear it was coming and I stopped and Silent Night started. And then I started to read Light Issa's piece. And I think me and Ali Lucy, all three of us, were sitting there in tears as I was reading this story as Silent Night was playing in the background and I was reading the Charlie Brown Christmas. And, of course, that beautiful piece where he, you know, I know the meaning of Christmas Charlie Brown lights, please

e think it was literally I said, Lights, please and sign on. The night started in the background, and then I was able to keep going. It was it was so perfect. But anyway, that's awesome. That's awesome. Yeah, I mean, I always bawl my eyes out that whole time, but yeah, it's good. It z good. And here's the thing. Friends. This, uh, this Christmas on this Sunday and all of that, you gotta find those moments of joy, Those moments of of peace and joy and hope and all those things you know this week yesterday worked recording this on the 10th. On the ninth, more people died from Cove it yesterday than died in 9. 11. Uh, you know what I mean? Like, there's so much in this world that it's so it's so hard. And so eso watch some Christmas movies shed some tears, um, and find those ways, Thio, whatever it takes for you all for for all you preachers, secret and Bible geeks and us as well

toe to remember the magic and the joy and the celebration in the good news that this season is all about even in the midst of a very hurting world, as it was when Jesus was born, it is again, um, on that note, let's turn to everybody's favorite Christmas passage. I find that this is one that you know. Usually everybody gathers around the fire to sit and listen to 2nd, 2nd Samuel and David wanting to build a temple. It's not Christmas until David wants to build a temple, so here it is. It's a voice in the wilderness. Nickel Cox our voice in the wilderness this week from the stage of the Paramount Theater in Hollywood. Pet free wine brings you with Hey, everybody. My name is Nicole Cox. I am a United Methodist pastor serving in Central Illinois. I'm also one half of hashtag pastor besties

. You can find us on Facebook where two female ministers talking about life and ministry. So we'd love for you to pop over and check out our little vlog. Uh, today we are talking about second Samuel 71 through 11 and 16. You know, this is, ah, one of those passages that we look at an advent because, um, it's God's promised to David that he will have a line of descendants that are going thio established. This kind of David IQ hope, Um, and it's a really interesting passage in that David has this really great plan that he wants to build a temple house, the Ark of the Covenant, which has just come back into Jerusalem. And, you know, it's been traveling around all these years. It's never had a permanent

home, and David's like, I'm going to do this. I'm gonna build this glorious temple to God and the Ark is gonna have a home and and it's gonna be great. And, uh, then the Prophet Nathan, uh, here is from God that that's not what David supposed to dio. But that's for someone else to do and not for David. As I look at that Scripture, I'm reminded that sometimes we have these really great plans, and it's good stuff. It's God glorifying things, but it's just not our work to dio. It's just not what God has called us to dio. And there's this really important piece in this passage that, you know, Nathan even tells David. Do it, God's on your side. Go and do it. Build that temple. And that's when he hears from God. Nope, He's not supposed thio, you know, even when we have these really great plans

. If we're not consulting God, then we might be acting outside of God's will and you know, sometimes are good. Plans are just not God's plans, not work that we're supposed to dio. And that we have to remind ourselves that God has this plan, this this great grand vision that that you know, he can see that we cannot see. Um yeah, that really is much better than what we could ever, ever ask for or imagine right. And so if we're not consulting God, if we're not seeking God in our decision making, we might be missing that God's plans are better than ours. And the thing for David, especially, is that God has this greater plan for his line to do amazing things, including

having the savior be a part of his line. But David isn't going to get to see any of that. In fact, one of the verses that's not included in her passage. But the next verse, Verse 12, says that when you die, I'll raise up a great descendants from you. And so it's It's not until David dies that this promise is going to be enacted. So David is not going to get to see this. He's not going to get toe experience that he just has toe have faith that what God has planned is better than what he has planned. I think there's a great lesson in that for us, Uh, especially as we are, you know, living through difficult days, um, that there is a greater plan that maybe we can't see now and Honestly, maybe we never will be able to see it. Uh, but we

have to trust that God is at work, that God will use us to do the work that we are called to dio If only we listen to him instead of trying Thio trying to invent the work ourselves even if it's good work. If it's not ours to dio we shouldn't be doing it. Um And so I think that that's just something for us to ponder and and to really think through and pray What is it that we are called to do? What is our work to Dio s O that God can be glorified in the way that God needs to be glorified through this? Well, I think this has a lot of good stuff in it. Uh, this is a great passage, especially for admit as we think about how, um we are waiting for the Messiah to come again. Might not be until after we die. We may never see it, but we can still work toe help bring about

the kingdom now. So thanks for listening. Hope you guys have had a wonderful advent season and merry Christmas to you all, and we'll see you next time. That was great. I have to be honest when she was reading and talking about that passage and she said, You know, David wants to build the temple, and God says, You know, has all these great ideas and these great plans and God says, Nope. All right now you don't have to do all that. Uh, I had a little tear in my eye. I felt like that was a little bit what I needed a year. So I'm really gracious to Nicole for that, because I feel like so many of us are feeling like there's there's so much to do and no matter what we can possibly do and no matter how much we can burn the candle at every possible conceivable, and it's just not gonna be enough this Christmas. And so maybe this is the Maybe this isn't the message. I don't know if there's a message that the congregation needs to hear. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. But I feel like it's a message a lot of pastors need to hear. Yeah, I love that

. Even if it's good work to do, it might not be yours. Yeah, and that's important, you know? And like you said, you know, there's this initial responsive. Yeah, that sounds great. Let's do it. And then you stop for a moment. If you're not asking God about this, maybe we need to pump the brakes a little bit. And yeah, I mean, in a season of, uh, of dizziness and advent, you know, when everything I want to do everything I want to do it all, um, saying no saying wait, eyes really profound. And it's funny because, you know, we laugh about this being a weird advent text. But what is advent other than maybe not right now, maybe we have to wait. And, uh, you know that that's that's an important piece of this whole season that we often forget. Absolutely. So thanks so much, Nicole, for that again, check out her. Ah, great work that she does on past her besties. Yeah, very

few comparatively know what is the gospel of Jesus Christ? Good news, everyone. Well, with gospel, this week is gonna be a little bit different friends in that we recorded ah longer piece conversation on the Annunciation, which is today's gospel passage. The visitation which technically is not in the r. C. L on the Magnificat, which is the alternate psalm for this week on. We had ah long. So we're gonna warn you. It's a long conversation. There's a whole lot in there on our narrative cast. And so what you're about to hear is that piece from the other podcast we do on the narrative election eri the narrative cast. And so, without further ado, we'll just jump right into that very few comparatively know what is the gospel of Jesus Christ? Good news, everyone. E

feel like we'll take this obviously, these air integrated Rob, but I feel like we're going to take this and try Thio doing three manageable chunks of the enunciation than the visitation, Uh, and then the Magnificat and try to give equal equal time and love to each of those. Um, but let's let's listen to it all together. Aziz one. Just reading This is the common English Bible. When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the Angel Gabriel to Nazareth, the city in Galilee, to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David's house. The virgins name was Mary. When the angel came to her, he said, Rejoice favored one. The Lord is with you. She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. The angel said, Don't be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look, you will conceive and give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called Son of the most high. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father, and he will rule over Jacob's house forever. There will be no end to his kingdom. Then, Mary said to the angel, How

will this happen? Since I haven't had sexual relations with a man, the angel said, the Holy Spirit will come over you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God's Son. Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman, who is labeled unable to conceive, is now six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible for God. Then, Mary said. I am the Lord servant. Let it be with me just as you have said. Then the angel left her. Mary got up in, Hurried to the city in the Judean Highlands. She entered Zacharias home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. With a loud voice, she blurted out, God has blessed you above all women and he has blessed the child you carry. Why do I have this honor that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. Happy is she who believed that the Lord

would fulfill the promises he made to her, Mary said, With all my heart, I glorify the Lord in the depths of who I am. I rejoice in God, my savior. He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant Look. From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name. He shows mercy to everyone from one generation to the next who honors him as God. He has shown strength with his arm he has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. He has pulled the powerful down from their Thrones and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty handed. He has come to the aid of his servant, Israel. Remembering his mercy, Justus, he promised to our ancestors to Abraham and toe Abraham's descendants forever. Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home. All right

, so yeah, that's a lot. But there's like you said. There's a lot in length. There's a lot packed in a lot to try to cover because this is this is really important. This is so fundamental to this Lucan story and this exchange between There's so much to explore with this relationship between Mary and Elizabeth, the whole infancy narrative of going back and forth between Elizabeth and Mary and thus, uh, John and Jesus and the comparisons between the two and and how they're interrelated. And then here focusing on these two women, Um, you know, it's a It's an interesting, um, piece that covers a lot of themes of Luke and and I've got to say this time. Uh, give us to call it out right away. The women's Bible commentary, which is a fairly new resource for us. Um, it's edited by Carol Newsom, Sharon Ringy and Jacqueline Lapsley. Uh, it is great

about this piece, especially. There's so it Zagat about a 45 about a three or four page, you know, excuses on this passage and then a whole another article just on Mary Andi. I'm gonna be tempted to not just from read this tax, because there's so much here and it's and it's really well done and a lot, lot to consider because a lot of the themes of the entire Gospel of Luke are played out here in this exchange, especially when you get to the Magnificat And, uh, yeah, so that zits just it's just such a powerful story here. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's one that's captured, captured the minds of many, and I think that this is an opportunity, you know, most Protestants over Look, Mary, uh, honestly, I feel like Rob because it's deemed as being so Catholic quote unquote right, Um and it's really unfortunate. I think it's to our detriment that that has happened

because Mary is, um, such a unique and, um, and fascinating figure in Scripture, both in the way in which she is filled with the spirit. Both her and Elizabeth. They have this kind of prophetic piece, the way in which she she, uh, things and and and the Magnificat. But even in this very beginning thing, you know, I feel like some of those contrasts that we kind of have at this beginning, I think really stand out to me and and might thio others. If you're preaching on this, I I encourage you go back and start with Luke 11 and read through. Because there are the contrast not just between Mary and Zechariah, but contrast between Mary and Elizabeth that are being reflected on in this enunciation. Because, you know, Zachariah, when we have the enunciation of John, the Baptist is at a place where he expects or might expect to hear the word of God, right? He's in the temple. He's in the holy of holies. He is a priest. Uh, and he's married to Elizabeth. And Elizabeth is part of the

line of Aaron, right? The original priest, um, and both Zachary and Elizabeth are they live in Jerusalem and they're talked about being, um these, you know, blameless in the sight of God. And they're following of God's instruction and righteous, And they have all these kind of views of what's happening. And the the proclamation that they're gonna have a child, obviously is is good news for their social standing. As we hear Elizabeth say at the end of that passage, God has removed my disgrace by bringing this on. Then we have the enunciation, and it's interesting because without without re reading that piece about John, we miss the stark contrast you rob, which I find fascinating. Which is we have Mary, right? And Mary is not. There's nothing about her. The Virgin. We have a virgin whose name was Mary. She's not described his righteous. She's not described as following the Commandments of God. She has no lineage. She is a nobody. That doesn't matter at all. Her, now her betrothed

, is a descendant of David, but she is just a nobody from Nazareth. Could anything good come from Nazareth? Right in the middle of nowhere. She's not even in Judea, much less Jerusalem, right? The heart of all of these things. And unlike, unlike Elizabeth, um, Mary is, uh this is all going to go poorly from here, right? Right. The her being with child out of wedlock while betrothed according to Deuteronomy, she should be taken out and stoned. And so s So there's this this piece where you know she at at worst, she'll be stoned. At best. He'll most likely be ostracized and and thrown out from her community. And so there's just this, uh, this incredible piece. And yet in the midst of all of this, an angel appears to her in the most unlikely of places. And when the angel pierced Zechariah, it said he was he could hardly move. He was terrified. And this is the thing that stands out to me room. This all happens to her. The angel of God appears to marry

, not expecting it, not a priest middle of nowhere. She's not afraid of. There's zero indication that she's afraid it all. The angel says, Don't be afraid, and I wanna be like, Listen here, Gabriel. There's no indication that she's afraid at all. Right Verse, Verse 29 the new revised. It says she was perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be common English. She was confused and wondered. Confusion and wonder isn't necessarily fear, you know. And yet, he says, don't be afraid on She was like, Well, I wasn't that's exactly yeah, I mean, there's almost a piece where I feel like Gabriel has appeared to so many people through the years because the the typical response is field here. And so I feel like he's just like it's kind of like on Christmas Eve even agree people. And I'm like Good morning, and then I'm like, Oh, wait, it's not good morning But I'm just so used to say like I feel like That's Gabriel. Don't be afraid. Oh, wait, She's not afraid. She's just confused and

which is the perfect inappropriate response, Because why would then Angel of God be appearing to this teenage? Nobody in the middle of nowhere, uh, to bring you know and calling her Rejoice favored one which, by the way, for those of you who might have not have grown up, this this is the Hail Mary full of grace. That's from this greetings favorite one that's that's literally the favorite. One means full of grace. And so when he's saying that, which is kind of an interesting piece, Yeah, I think all of this, Like you said at the beginning, you know, we Protestants, I think of shied away from Mary a little bit to our los right because it's a remarkable figure. And what's interesting, too, is how Luke treats Mary. It's really, um, it's ambivalent, right? It's both, It's It's positive in a lot of ways. Um, the way Luke treats Mary and women in general, you know, reading this women's Bible commentary really lifted this up that in many ways

, like on the surface level, Luke feels like the champion of women, right, because there's so many women characters. And here, you know, Mary is given this incredible voice and this incredible song, whereas in Matthew, she's she's barely barely says a word. It's all about the men on. Yet at the same time, there's this interesting thing that almost every time when women what Luke has also done, a lot of the women's stories has removed their conflict removed their the controversial parts of the women a lot of times, and there's lots of lots of places where you know, the sire finish in women, and Luke is kind of is, I think, completely removed. And like, there's different examples of that throughout the gospel. And I think here with Mary, she is both. And I think we see this in the way Christianity has treated Mary ever since. She is both this incredible vessel who is

a chosen, Um Ah. Woman, young woman, unmarried, You know, the least likely to be selected by God. And yet she's also little more than a vessel, right? She is. Does she have much agency here? And I think that's debated in the way that the text can be read. Does she have much? You know, the Magnificat is this amazing words of prophecy. But at the same time she is. You know, you could also say she was just sort of used and subjugated she although at the same time that at the same time she talks about being I will be God's slave, which, you know that in and of itself has sort of a double meaning. Um, that is both troubling and reflective of a sort of great devotion to God. To be God's slave is the other gods, slaves and the Bible, where people like Abraham and Moses. Um And so it's just this very ambivalent treatment that relationship Blue has

with women that on the surface feels very liberated and empowering. But if you take a deeper look into it, it's not quite as liberated as we might wish. Well, it's one of those like it. It goes farther that I feel like it goes farther than the other Gospels, but not far enough, right? And I think that that's that's the clear piece. Where? And I think the interpretation of this, um, Israeli pointed out that often this is interpreted of Look, this is Mary and, uh and and why is Mary lifted up because of her? As you said, her submission, her obedience, the way in which she she is obedient. Teoh A masculine god. Um And you know, the patriarchy unfortunately continues thio rain and and live too strongly in that. And so I think that there is some opportunity about that. We've talked about that rob somewhat about the issue of consent in this, um and, uh, and I talked with some of the some authors earlier this year about that, Um Kira Schlesinger has a great, um piece

on that from ministry matters dot com. You can see the link right in our show, notes called Mary Hashtag Me, too. And the question of consent where she really addresses this right on. And I think it's an important piece here because, uh, it does seem odd of is there is this happening And I think that it's also a piece of this, you know, a virgin birth is odd, uh, for the in Jewish literature. Well, it's unprecedented, right in Jewish literature, but for Greco Roman literature, it's not. I mean, I wouldn't go so far as to say it's commonplace, but we have, ah, massive list at oh, are just the beginning of a list of all of the mother you know, the the gods and Demi gods born of virgins from ah, variety of different, um, deities throughout the ancient near east world. Um, and the Greco Roman world and things like that. So the idea of ah, virgin giving birth, uh, literary and historical piece? Uh

, not not particularly extraordinary. I think that the difference is what's different. Here is the way in which, um in almost all of those other circumstances. This has, um, the woman is not. It's just something that has done to the woman. Often it's rape at, at worst, non consensual, although as any is non consensual sex ever anything but rape. I would argue that it's not so. I mean, it's, Ah that That's a piece. Where is here? There is. There's this weird dialogue that takes like like there's this piece of like, this is gonna happen. But there's like a there's there's a pause. There's there's a it's almost an invitation. It depends on how we read it. Um uh, but it should give us It should give us pause to kind of look at that. But I do feel like there's this piece of when she says, Let it be with me. Uh, there is almost this aspect of consent that we see in there, but I do think it's something that we have to struggle with. Yeah, and and the way we've treated married than to as the

church and its tradition and its legends is this, you know, a woman who is revered for her motherhood but also revered for her for her sexless nous. Right, right, and so she creates this paradigm of the ultimate. The ideal for a woman is to be a woman who doesn't use her sexuality, which obviously is impossible for. And it's set up this, you know, impossibility for women to live up to it or to live into for years. Now. At the same time, Mary could be lifted up as the sort of divine you know, feminine, divine and, uh, this aspect of of power and trying to find the quote now that that I've got here, huh? Yeah, Here, This is from the From the Women's Bible commentary. And she said homage is given to the mother of Jesus as the Virgin Mary, maternal but not erotic, honored for the non use

of her sexuality and development of her image and legend and Christian imagination and devotion have made her figure that functions in many ways like a goddess. Christianity's the adaptation of the feminine, uh, the feminine aspect of the Divine Luke One is the major New Testament source for that development, which has both positive and negative effects on women's spirituality, self understanding and political empowerment. And I think that that is what we're trying to get at here is that you know how Catholics have treated Mary to some feels empowering and, uh, that feminine divine. But then it's also a feminine divine embodied in this ideal of this impossible idea of motherhood without sex, right? And we're gonna lift up motherhood in that aspect of things. But we're going to shun anything that has to do with, you know, your actual physical body. And we're going to treat the Nativity as this very

sterile thing that that is just a man, a woman and some shepherds, right? There's no, there's no it's a silent night and it's away in a manger where the baby doesn't cry and all of those kinds of sterilized aspects of what What birth is, um, and another unrealistically. And so I think that lifting up Mary, I think the text gives us a chance to lift up Mary in a very powerful of meaningful way as human and honored without going so far as to give her divinity and an unrealistic expectation of of who she is and what that means for women. Um, it could be she can be empowering and liberating, but understand that there's this other side of it within the texture as well. Absolutely. Um, we're gonna move on to the visitation. There is, by the way, beloved, we There are a ton of the absolute

avalanche of show notes, so check that out. Pulp fiction dot com slash narrative. There's a whole lot there, but let's talk about the visitation. One of the things I love about the visitation, you know, is that she has received this, um, incredibly alarming news. And despite the fact that she says, let it be with me, uh, even if she has this moment of peace, there's got to be these moments, Rob, where I just imagine where Mary is, like, what literally in God's name is happening, right. Like this is terrifying and and worrisome. And and the remarkable thing that happens in that And I've been thinking about this a lot and that she, uh, she goes to see Elizabeth, and in doing so affirms the fact that she's not in this alone, right? Yes. Is God with her? Of course, God is with her. But that's hard when when you're worried about being alienated, marginalized and potentially stoned by your family to say well but God loves you like that. That's helpful but also helpful. Toe have some allies

there. So the fact that she goes to Elizabeth, who appears to be in some extent the matriarch of the family, right, she's older, she's from this prestigious line. All of these things she's married to this Zechariah, the priest and all of these things. And the fact that Elizabeth, you know, Elizabeth, being married to the priest could say, Listen like we got a stone, You What's what's a matter with you, you know, and and and the shame and all those things. But instead, you know that I feel like so often we we miss, you know, she entered Zacharias home and greeted Elizabeth that period. You know that that space between verse 40 and 41 right? Or after, you know, when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, You know that this pause of like, Oh my God, what's goingto happen here? And the fact that Elizabeth doesn't greet her with shame or doubt or questioning, but with joy. And I think that is such a such a powerful, uh, piece to say no matter what's coming, that Elizabeth

will be with her. And let's be honest, not just the birth, but Mary's journey is gonna be, Ah, horrific. One mhm of watching everything. Not just the awkwardness and the difficulty. And just that the fear around childbirth generally, uh, nowadays and and also in the ancient world. But on top of that, you know, we we know how the story ends. We know that she is going to witness the the persecution, torture and horrific murder of her son. Public murder of her son by the state. No. Yeah, I love the idea of raising that tension in that moment in that comma. You know, as you read the story, it doesn't We don't get it very much. You know, when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, there's so much contention in that comma, right? Like what house? How is she going to react? What? How is she going to be receiving? Like you said, she is part of the establishment. She is part of the temple, You know, the ones that you know

Jesus doesn't have a great relationship with these guys once he grows up. But in this moment, it's joy. And I've always loved the fact that you know Jesus meets an angel and the angel says this is happening and the most you can muster is okay, you know, let it be. I'm I'm I'm with God. I'm your servant. Um, she goes to Elizabeth and Elizabeth, confirms her and affirms her and embraces her and has this moment of joy and then marries responses with all my heart. I glorify got right. And this beautiful piece that's Magnificat that's become, uh, you know, a piece of poetry and music enjoy for generations. And I've always thought that that is interesting in that the angel didn't bring the joy and amazing response her aunt's

did. Yeah, right. And I don't know if it's her aunt, but I think of that is like her older cousin cousin is kind of Ah, catch all phrase for people who are relatives, you know. And since she is older, that's how I think of her as her wise old. And that's who brought out that joy. And and maybe partly I think of that because I had an aunt who I loved, like gave me that kind of confirmation and affirmation in my life and just thinking of the power of women's relationships. The power of to pregnant women and their relationship. You know, there's there's a bond there that will never understand. But when you have women, you know that you share that experience. Uh, it really is something to behold. Especially, I think, an intergenerational kind of thing. Even though it's Elizabeth first go around personally, she certainly, you know, would have been experienced in that world. Um, and you know, we've We've got this beautiful picture from sanctified art, longtime friend

of the show on Partner Their their their sponsor. Um, but we shared in the show notes. There's this absolutely stunning picture of Mary and Elizabeth, both of them pregnant, both sort of touching each other's wounds. Elizabeth's hair clearly gray. Uh, it's just a beautiful. It's a stunning visual, and it's one that is, I'm pretty sure it's there. Sort of share a bowl one. This is, you know, you should probably contact them if you want to share it in your videos or anything like that, but it's the one that's their sample, so you don't have to necessarily buy the whole bundle, but you should check that out and saying to fight are not or get in our shows we have links to this absolutely stunning piece. Yeah, Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I love that this this whole idea of the two of them coming together, the two of them taking this journey together well, and which is emphasized at the end of this passage, you know, the throwaway verse, Verse 56 that usually doesn't get, uh, lifted up as much. Which is And Mary stayed with Elizabeth for the next

three months. Potentially Mary State of Elizabeth. Until Elizabeth gave birth to John, right? And was with her through that. That the first, the last, the first three months of Mary's pregnancy. Her first try mass trimester overlaps with the final trimester of Elizabeth and then them going through that together and and the need to be together. And I feel like in this time, you know, we there's been a lot. There was a lot of focus in the spring about how you know, in co vid and this awfulness and the scariness that's happening that we get through this together. Um, what a great, um, example of that I wanna lift up another thing to rob, because because, uh, it's important, and we kind of have talked about this, which is that phrase that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. That's a huge deal, right? The fact that that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit designates her as, ah, profit. Um, and and other biblical scholars have acknowledged that in this togetherness with the spirit between them and among them and within them is that the words that we hear both

from Elizabeth and then the the Magnificat, which we'll get to in a moment, um, that these air prophetic words. And I think that that is you know, I think, you know, I don't know if I've ever heard that much about Elizabeth in the Protestant church and and this visitation piece, but I think that it is so important to see that these words of affirmation, these words of love, these words of acceptance, um, these these air prophetic words not just about what is happening, but based on what God has done and and furthermore, what God will continue to do into the future between Elizabeth between, um, Mary and between their Children, a side note to they will both of them will experience the deaths of their Children at the hands of the state, which I think is also, you know. So there's a piece there in that grief is well, yeah, I mean, it's not like prophetic, but it's Messianic, right? I mean, she calls Jesus Lord, she called. I mean, she might be, have to go back. But I think she's the first person to call Jesus my Lord, and

he's in Wu, you know, he's in utero and he's my lord, Andi. It's the only according Thio, Renji and Schaitberger and the Women's Bible commentary. It's the only time a woman makes that comment in The Gospel of Luke S. O. That sort of Messianic title, the the piece from the women's Bible commentary lifts up a lot of really interesting things about Mary's virginity, which is a can be a hot topic. It could be a very interesting discussion. I shared a lot in the show notes. I don't know if we have time to go through all of this right now, but if you re a careful reading of Luke reveals that there's definitely a shared and Luke and Matthew. There's definitely the shared, um, understanding that there is an illegitimacy about Jesus parentage about Jesus birth. But it's not explicit in Luke that this is a virgin conception

and and and this is going back to the enunciation, I guess, is when the Holy Spirit comes, you know, he uses the terms overshadowed and what's the other one will overshadow. You can overcome, come upon you. I think it's what come upon you. Neither one of those have any real sexual connotations or procreative. It's basically saying, If you look at the conversation, she says, how could this be? You know she's betrothed and eventually there together and a conception happens. And there's no riel explicit statement here by the Holy Spirit that I'm the one that's doing this on. I think that's really interesting, Um, and yet because it's because that's not the piece that Luke um highlights. But what is highlighted is the acceptance. Yeah, it's the acceptance by Elizabeth. It's the acceptance by the Holy Spirit, and eventually it's the acceptance by

Mary and then, And of course, in Luke's story. It's the whole world, right? This acceptance of this illegitimate child is that's gonna be, you know, if you want to explore that, that could be disturbing to a lot of people, but I think mawr important. I mean, I think the acceptance of an illegitimate child ISMM or important than the birth of a virgin one. When I think about the social ramifications that theological ramifications and everything that we know about Jesus and his minister, I think that's a bigger really a bigger and more important piece. Well, I wonder if that's part of what picks up, you know later in Luke. Four. Right? When? When? When he really, um the first time that the crowds turn against him. Right? When he picks up the scroll of Isaiah, he reads it. And he says, Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled and people start raving about him. But pretty quickly it's inching, they say. Is this not Joseph son? And I also wonder, Is that a piece for people like, is it right? Like like it's a callback

, right? I mean, it's a small town. Let's be clear, right? And so when they when they hear something they don't want to hear, what do they do? They do anything to undermine and delegitimize it. And so I wonder if this is a piece of trying to take a shot across the bow of saying, you know, this is that Remember, that was kind of a shady, like was Is this Joseph son or was there something else and and the rumor mill and all of that stuff? And of course, those are the same folks that are gonna try to throw him off a cliff so it would make sense that they're trying to immediately delegitimize him, Uh, in that regard. And yet we know that there are thousands. As you said, eso there are those that may delegitimize him right away and thousands who will who will accept him as well. And they want to throw him off the cliff when he wants to bring that message of good news to the outsiders. Right when he reminds them that it's the Gentiles, that it's the, uh, woman from side in that that Elijah healed. It's the Syrian that Elijah he'll like. He reminded them that that's when they want to throw them off. So

he's this already kind of outskirts outsider now reminding them that it's good news for even the outsiders. And that's so I don't just plays into the whole theme of Luke. I think more profoundly than the biological parentage. Yeah. So, um, I wanna move on to the Magnificat. We're running already pretty late, but I do wanna This is important piece to kind of talk about the Magnificat. This this beautiful song, Uh, that word, Magnificat is because in the Latin, that is the first word of this, uh, that piece of my soul magnifies the Lord. It's this great song of liberation. And, um and there's a couple things here that I think that that have stood out to me and kind of re hearing this song. This is someone that we sing in our church during our admin vespers every single week assed part of the Holden evening prayer that we do for Advent Vespers. But it's interesting that there's a lot of similarities between this and Hannah song from First Samuel two versus one through 10 on gets interesting that in both of these, you know, in Hannah's

case, which she was praying for a child desperately fervently. So much so that I thought she was drunk because she was so fervently praying, right? Um and then is given and then and then conceives and bears a child who is Samuel. Um, and in this case, obviously, Mary, um, proclaims this after hearing being with Elizabeth and hearing this word of affirmation that she is pregnant with Jesus. But in neither of these, um, songs, is there any discussion about Children or being pregnant or any of those things? There's no specificity. In fact, all of these air about it is an interpretation of what God is doing in this moment based on what God has has done. Uh, you. So Gonzales talks about this in his commentary where he says, You know, this is much more than a simple literary borrowing, but there's a feeling logical perspective to this borrowing in that this is what Mary alludes Thio Matt Skinner on the sermon brainwave podcast from years ago. I don't know how many years ago talks of probably about three or four years ago talked about prophecy, he says. You

know, getting back to about the prophetic voice here, he says, prophecy is about making sense of God in our current circumstances, in light of bigger existing, uh, understanding of who God is. And I think that that's that is what Mary's doing here. And so there's two pieces that I pulled from that one is the importance of music and the importance of the fact that is this an original composition from Mary, where she just bursts into song? Or is this a song that was based on what Hanna said that Mary knows? And in this moment of incredible complexity and not knowing what's happening, she falls back on those on on on the songs, the hymns that she knows the psalm that she knows right this is this is how she interprets what God is doing, because there she does. There's no other language to interpret it. And how important is that this time of year, when we fall back on the you know, if you don't know any other hymns, people know the Christmas carols. And how important are those songs

? Especially because I suspect a lot fewer people are singing them because not everybody feels comfortable singing those carols on their own so that that's the first piece that I think is kind of, you know, how do we How do we embrace that gift of music? Uh, in our lives and the theological music, those hymns that speak to us sometimes stronger than text us reminds me of how many times Paul quote songs right into these letters. There's so many instances where he's writing this thing and he can't explain it. So he quotes. So he quotes of him, and sometimes they feel for us, they feel like him is that he wrote, because it's our only copy of it. But there's a lot of instances where they're things that that most scholars believe. These were hymns that were already circulating and that Paul, you know, Paul, in his earliest writings, quoted songs that the people were already singing about Christ. And it's a fascinating piece, you know, even Jesus on the cross

, right? In that moment of passion, deep passion and despair. What does he do? He goes to the songs, the songs and that and anybody, any pastor who's done work in nursing homes. No, you know, if you've done chapel and nursing homes where there's memory care, you know that there's men and women there that might not remember their son and daughter's names. But they could sing Amazing Grace. Absolutely. Yeah, and and the other piece that set out to me here is you know, there's so This is a grand reordering, right? The world turned upside down here, right? When which, um you know, the the theme of just the choosing of Mary has lived out in that God is hearing the cries of the poor and the hungry and and those those all too, unfortunately, ordinary people. Um, right, It's not the the bastions of power, economic or political or social. No, it's It's within the people that the good news is going Thio going to arrive. And in so much of this, this

him, right, um, you know, about the last being first and the first being last in the glory of God and the mercy of God and the faithfulness of God and, uh, and the concern for the poor. Uh, you know, we hear this and we know this because we're gonna hear this again, right? And And so what this makes me think of is, um you know, I don't know about you, Rob. I often think of Jesus is, you know, Jesus is God. And so Jesus was imbued with the knowledge of God that led him to preach and teach. You know that this was somehow built into the very fabric of his being and instead looking at this, I think you know who do we learn from the most? Yeah, it was built into the fabric of his being by his mom by his mother, right? Like he can preach. He can preach so well that the sermon on the Mount, because he's been hearing that since he was in utero, right? I mean, this message of God's grace. This message of God's concerned for the least of these in the poor is

something that he learned from Mary the great teacher, the one who was talking about that. I mean, she is she that this beautiful vision of Kingdom of God exists before he's even born, and I think that's an important thing to that. We lift up again, that motherhood of Mary, but the way in which Mary is teaching him, and the way in which God is working through Mary to teach him what the kingdom of God is and what that looks like. And I feel like we don't often think of Mary as the teacher of Jesus as the mother, you know, a za mother of Jesus. But but removed somehow and not doing those things of raising and teaching. Yeah, the one who raised Jesus and, uh, yeah, I mean, you know, Katie's A and her amazing book Women Rise Up in her chapter about Mary lifts up, you know, the gospel of John, and obviously we don't love mixing gospels, but who's the one that gets him going right there in a wedding in Qena? And he says, And she's like, Do something about this. He's

like, It's not time woman And she just says, Go, Listen, she just gets the services and listen to what he says she like. She just tells him to do it and doesn't even really. It's just it's kind of a funny exchange if you if you really read what's happening because she basically just says Go do it Jesus And he says, Mom, I don't want Thio and she makes him do it anyway, right? And this sort of that sort of understanding of G of Mary, who then actually push Jesus out into the public sphere as well as a fascinating piece, is well and write the It's It's not Jesus who identifies the problem. It's Mary who brings the problem to him Yeah, it's Mary who's like, Are you aware that this is an issue and that you need to do something about it, like on again? Like, as you said, it's that That kind of like the kick out of the nest there in John, too. Um, that that piece there, uh, you know, I mentioned the world turned upside down, which I think for Hamilton fans will kind of click in right

the Battle of Yorktown and that that song that comes in that kind of, uh, you know, begins the the end of act one. Um, some of that's like the second last song in act one. Um, but one of the interesting things in the battle of Yorktown is that the reason that that's used is because there was a song that was sung, uh, as the legend goes after the Battle of Yorktown that there was, uh, you know, the British Army under Cornwallis played the tune This that the song, the After they surrendered at the Battle of Yorktown called The World is turned upside down. And that song alludes back to this Magnificat, which is really fascinating. So one of the things that, like one of the verses in that old song. You can find it on Wikipedia, says our lords and knights and gentry to do mean old fashions to forgo. They set a porter at the gate that none must enter in their at. They counted a sin. When poor people come in, hospitality itself is drowned

. Let's be content and the times lament when you see the world turned upside down and so on and again the the serving men do sit and wine and make it, uh and think it long air dinnertime, the butler still out of the way. Or else my lady keeps the key, the old, the poor old cook in the larger death look where there is no goodness to be found, right. So it's really and they talk about this idea that you know the loss of Christmas. It's It's a Christmas song that was sung, and so it might be worth looking that up the world turned upside down because obviously we've talked about that in the Kingdom of God, is that it is this reordering of the world, um, than the way that we have known it, and now we'll turn to the song selection. We have a nugget from Richard Brooks Avert Collagen on Psalm 89 which is our song for the week. You can find more Richard's great works on emerging dot com. Tweet him at Promo Psalmist and support him by going to repatriation dot com slash richard. B. C. Forever

Love Some 89 is a song celebrating God's unfailing love Perfect for this day, when the spotlight is on Mary. I'm Richard Brooks. Fort Collagen with psalm immersion dot com Your psalmist in the field with a quick word about Psalm 89. Eso you're not gonna preach on Psalm 89 this week? You'll probably have the spotlight on Mary and all that her voice means right now, but Psalm 89 is a wonderful companion to our week on the brink of Christmas. Before we hear the text, let's back up the camera a little bit. Advent is a season in touch with the embodied love of God. It's also full of intense messages of past, present and future. Well, on this Christmas Eve day, we're on the threshold of this story's climax. But then again, from a sol missed point of view, the Jesus story is very much a continuity

of the Hebrew Bible's witness that God is with us. In that way. Christmas is not a new thing for the Covenant God of Israel. It's the same song, new verse. The older testament, of course, is rich with God's presence in Tora and forgiveness and Temple on the people of God. And hey, now the New Testament gets its own story. The New Covenant God is with us in Jesus Christ, Immanuel. So I'm 89 celebrates this long, long range Love of God. Listen for all the references to time and generations. Take a deep breath with me on Let's hear some 89 verses one through four and 19 through 26 Rs be adapted slightly. E will sing

of your steadfast love Oh, holy one forever with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations. I declare that your steadfast love is established forever. Your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens. You said I have made a covenant with my chosen one. I have sworn to my servant David. I will establish your descendants forever and build your throne for all generations. So that thing you spoke in a vision to your faithful one and said I have set the crown on one who is mighty. I have exalted one chosen from the people. E have found my servant David with my holy oil, I have anointed him. My hand shall always remain with him. My arm also shall strengthen him. Theo Enemy shall not out with him. A wicked

shall not humble him. E will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him. My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him and in my name his horn shall be exalted. I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. You shall cry to me. You are my father, My God and the rock of my salvation Here ends the reading An ancient song of the Covenant People of God! Thanks be to God. There is a love for heavy love It's holding us strong is a flood Bigas the starry sky unfolding guns Now let us sing What e

o resonating out all night forever is nothing Little dissenting Heart is beating you strong, Nothing to lose It's wrapped around for your whole life Long Now let's see what e e. Tons

of psalm celebrate God's love. The most prominent word in Hebrew naming God's love is Kasid. Say it with me, Kay said. Right. It's often translated steadfast love or unfailing love. It's It's the love that will not let us go. It's the love that in the older Testament has the people of God's names engraved on God's body. It's the love that leaves no one out. It's the prodigal father running to meet his deadbeat son. It's the woman relentlessly searching for a coin. Yeah, and you know, maybe your whole message this Sunday will be about the reality of this love in the midst of people feeling pressure to shop and spend money and in the midst of stress, to be happy and trying to get things right for the family or whatever. Maybe the proclamation this Sunday will be about Mary and the love she knew by heart a bit more about Psalm 89. At its heart

, it's kind of blessing for King David. Three great hope for the nation of Israel. See, back in the day, the king's function was to enact God's will for the people through politics. That's why it was so important that God anoint the king, handpicked for God's purpose on the Psalms, say the politics of God has an agenda. Take care of the poor immigrants, the widows, the orphans. In other words, the king is supposed to take care of all of us with the least assets in society the most vulnerable. Any king worth his salt is going to make those things happen. King David called, Ah, man after God's own heart and a man who I think you could make the case, his sexual misconduct helped bring down the whole kingdom. In the midst of this coronation dream of Psalm 89 crowning David is a description of just how remarkable life is going to be. Why, because David's

job is to make God's love happen. How does it make it happen in his domestic and foreign policies? Justice and compassion will be clear. People will have food and safety. Things will be fair for everyone. People will be generous and sharing what they have. No one will be left out because everyone belongs to this Shalom community of God, now God's hesaid in the Psalms, it's sometimes described as strong, sometimes as fierce and tenacious, sometimes tender. Here in Psalm 89 gods, hesaid is framed in terms of time. It lasts versus one through four. Set it up. Today I will sing of your love forever. Both the singing and the love is everlasting. And for whom is this love for all generations? It's for you. But also it was for your grand parents and great grand parents and any Children you might

dream of having and their Children and their Children. As if to say, lots of things don't last forever. Kings come and go politics. People die. Seasons change. Relationships evolved. But God's kassid it's held us for longer than anyone can remember. Mary knew it. She banked on it. She leaned into it. She let it be. Born in her life, theologian Meister Eckhart wrote that we are all mothers of God because God is always ready to be born. The holy one is prized. Now let's sing what hole one has Prom's Tha tha tha

bless you. This week, you can hear that song at psalm immersion dot com. I'm Richard Brooks for college in Thanks for today. Back to your generic. Previously on the Bible's Ruth. I smell Heaven's Bakery cooking up something good for you, Sister. Heaven's Bakery has a little bit of Romans. It's Chapter 16 versus 25 through 27. May the glory be to God who can strengthen you with my good news and the message that I preach about Jesus Christ. He can strengthen you with the announcement of the secret that was kept quiet for a long time. Now that secret is revealed through what the prophets wrote it has made known to the Gentiles

in order to lead their faithful obedience based on the command to the eternal God. May the glory be to God, who alone is wise, made the glory be to him through Jesus Christ forever. Um, in Okay, So, um, this is I think that there's an argument for for alluding to this I have to be honest, Rob, I think this is a great supplementary piece. I think there's some great connections that could be made here between this, uh, the Magnificat and the enunciation. And a lot of what's happening in there and with Elizabeth and Mary and and their proclamations, um, in the visitation. Magnificat. But this is not a price. I feel like nobody's preaching this. Okay, at the Sunday before, Chris, I'm gonna say this. Don't preach this passage. Do not preach Paul. Instead of Mary on the Sunday before Christmas, This would be the ultimate liturgical mansplaining like. Okay, here's our Sunday that set aside to have Mary's amazing

voice of prophecy and and power Note. We're gonna have Paul close his letter to the Romans. No, just do not. Now, if you want to read it, if you want to include it as a supplement, absolutely. But if you are preaching from this text instead of the Magnificat or or the enunciation of the visitation, then please just stop it. Yeah, absolutely, Absolutely. Yeah, its's Yeah, E. You've been doing like a Roman Siri's through Advent, and it fits. But still, why would you be doing a Roman Siris in Advent anyway? You might. I don't know any way I will say this. I still think it's a good supplemental text, because what? Paul, It's so first of all, this is the end of Romans. There's some discrepancy about where this toxicology fits because there's some discrepancy about the 16th chapter of Romans, about whether that was added on some of the manuscript, Have it some of the anti manuscript and Romans Chapter 14. Um, but

in a lot of those, this toxicology is either tacked onto the end of 14 or the end of 15. So it seems like this toxicology may may have been added later. Or, uh, it could have just been a piece that then has shifted depending on the different manuscript. But that aside, what's happening here, which I think is interesting, is that this is a proclamation and ending Where Paul began, Paul begins the letter to the Romans talking about God and who God is, um, and and brings it back around about that. This is about who God is and and I want to argue, as several scholars have, that this is about This is not a time when we focus a lot on the divine being right. The God enters into the world of flat and fleshed, and we talk about the being in the nature of God and the nature of God taking on human flesh and all of that. This is a piece in that that first couple words there. When we hear you know, may the glory be to God who was able and actually like the the new revised right. Who is able to strengthen you because that that

that piece, that this is God, who is able talks about that this is not necessarily about the divine being as much as about the divine doing. This is about that God, who is active and present in the early church in Rome that is active and present in all of those different places. And and it's about what God is doing in and through you and in and through the you. There is the early church. It's the current church and it's the church to come, which is very add venti, right? It's it's the receivers of the good news. Then now and And what is to come that this is not that that completely transcendent, aloof God, the divine watchmaker who said everything and then step back and is totally hands off, but rather one who is active among us, who is active within us, and I think that idea of the divine doing what God is doing, that strengthening, that enabling the obedience of faith within us. Uh, that's that could be an important thing to kind of bring up and talk about that. Because, of course, in the Magnificat, we're talking about what God is doing in and through Mary

and in and through Elizabeth. And I don't say that to remove as we discussed the agency from Marion and Elizabeth, Rather, it is their connection with the divine. And what's happening that that's happening? Yeah. I mean, and I think this is This is an important piece that says, now all of this that you want, You know this, right? This isn't a secret. This isn't some mystical, uh, you know, divine thing. This is something that you know where your this has been revealed. God's action is revealed to you, Um, and it leads to faithful obedience. It leads to a life. It leads to the way. And it's embodied in people like Mary, who was, you know, who had obedience and then was able toe to speak. But this faithful obedience is also enacting those things that she proclaimed. So when she proclaimed, uh, you know, good news and and the turning of the world upside down part of the faithful obedience to God is

to enact that very turning of the world that is upside down. And that is that's why I again this is it's a good capper. It's a good reaffirmation of what she said, and of course, not just what she said, but of Jesus, entire mission and ministry. Right? This is basically saying OK, so Jesus has come and it's an interesting pieces being the last word of Advent is Here we are. We're prepared. This is something that's coming Now, now what? I mean, this could have worked. This could work as a first Sunday of Christmas kind of peace to write. It's this. Let's Okay, so he's born. Let's do something about it. Let's have that faithful obedience. Yeah, yeah, what comes next? And that faithful obedience. You know, I think two things that are helpful here, the strengthening us and that faithful obedience. The strengthening us, I think, would be a powerful message again. I think it connects to marry and what that's going on in the idea that there's an acknowledged like Why Why do we need strength, Rob Number one? We can't do it on our own

right, and number two, because it's gonna be really hard. Life is really hard, and being faithful in the midst of this life is also really hard. And and I think that this is a piece that we have to remember in this passage where it's talking about glorifying God and all of that, that that everything that Paul like think read back in in Romans eight. You know that about all of the awful things that are happening to the early church, right? This isn't a time of intense persecution. It's in a time of incredible, um, political upheaval within the Roman Empire. It is, uh, the revolt hasn't happened, but but the the lead up to the great Jewish revolt is it's imminent. It's happening that that that will lead to the destruction of the temple. Um, there are all of these awful things that are occurring at the time. Like Paul is not writing this. When all is well, Paul is writing this when things are pretty dire and dark and saying like that will need strength for the journey. By God is granting us that strength. God is with us, right? And

that brings that obviously that piece back that Emmanuel that God with us, uh, piece and that it invites us into that obedience of faith. I don't know about you, Rob. Sometimes I buck against the obedience piece because I feel like obedience is done when somebody breaks your will, right? Like like the dominance of God, as opposed to an invitation away from sin, away from those temptations and toward God. Well, it's It could be a you know, call back call forward to Mondi Thursday, right. The commandment Thursday, What's the command of God? But to serve one another? When Jesus says, you know, you know, you're my friend because you obey me. Seems weird. That's a weird thing for for to say to a friend You're going, you have to obey me, but and then you look at what? What? Jesus. What does obedience look like is compassion and service and kindness and forgiveness and and feeding everyone and welcoming sinners and eating with Faris sees and lepers

. And you know all of that. It's the deeper look at what obedience looks like. And you could say the obedience looks like, you know what Mary saying about two. Yeah. I don't know. I don't know about you, Rob. I always demand full obedience from all of my friends. They want to be friends with me. You must first become obedient to me. Yeah. No, it is. It is that invitation. It's an invitation to live. Live out. Uh, toe live out the gospel. Um, there's also a nice piece in here. You know, I feel like there's so much in advent. And this is hard because it's the fourth Sunday of Advent, and we lean so heavily into Christmas that, you know, most by now, even the staunchest. Most of the staunchest adventures are are finally buckling and singing Christmas carols by this Sunday. But but let us. I think this passage helps us remain in Advent because advent is about the the what has been done, what God has done, what God is doing and what is to come, right. And so we look. And

frankly, so is Christmas, right? We look back at what God has done. We look back not only on on the profits, but we look back on the actual birth of Jesus, what God has done, but we way see that not as a one off historical event. Jesus has been born, but also, Jesus is born, right? Jesus is alive. Jesus. That that incarnation has has a present piece that speaks to us and calls to us. And then we look ahead toward that second coming toward the culmination of the Kingdom of God. And and we see that in this passage, right, that secret for long ages, that present revelation that has now disclosed and this future fulfillment that is to bring about. And I think, maintaining that piece that that sometimes we could become so focused on what's just happening right now here that we lose sight of both what has been right, the awfulness that God has brought us through the way in which God led God's people out of Egypt. The way in which God led God's people out of exile. The way in which God has been with us in our own

personal lives. Aaron. Our communal lives as churches and organizations in the past. The way in which God is with us now, even when it seems so dark. But also, it looks ahead. We look ahead toward, uh, toward a time of what are we going to do? Uh, you know, when when this pandemic is behind us and one of the ways in which, in the midst of it, we live into the kingdom with vaccinations and and how are we going to live into that? Aziz were facing a massive, um, mental health crisis. I was just reading an article or in The New York Times that was talking about the fourth wave of this pandemic. And they were saying, the fourth wave is a mental illness wave that will hit after the holidays. Um, but also the economic devastation of million's that air. Still without of work Million's who have lost their livelihoods Million's that air. Um uh, that that are in danger of losing their homes on dso. Um and so there's that, too. And how can we respond to that? So we have to look ahead. How do we live into that? Magnificat. Looking ahead in

keeping that past present and future tense of Advent, there's some other stuff here in the show notes. We're gonna keep this short, but we do recommend you check out the show notes. You can find out a pulpit fiction, uh dot com. Um, but we know that this has been a bit of a longer show. So we're not gonna go too much farther on this Romans piece. But we want to thank all of you for joining us for this podcast, um, of public fiction. And we'd love to hear from you. You can go to our Web page where you can find all of those notes and more information of pulp fiction dot com. You can find us on Instagram and Facebook at Pulpit Fiction. Where a twitter at Pulpit F podcast You can find us on Google Play Soundcloud Spotify Apple podcast Wherever you do, we love it. If you leave us a review there, you can always email a show at pulpit fiction dot us. You can support us by going to pulpit fiction dot com slash donate. We want to thank our sponsors, sanctified art you can check out they've already got lend materials available to review and preview, and they're definitely worth checking out. I know you're already thinking about Lent

on this fourth Sunday of admin, thanks to our songs. Correspondent Richard Brooks for Culligan, Our voice in the wilderness, Nicole Cox, it Scott Fletcher for the voice bumpers Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our theme music. Nikolai Hide List for our transition music A longtime friend of the show and sometime voice in the wilderness, Brian Odeen For this closing song, Please have a loving you way Hate to say it's time to go but it happens every time you know So now you're free to go about your day We've heard the word invoice and song you wondered and we've laughed along Go and preach the good news on your way. This is the pulpit fiction podcast for preachers and seekers and Bible geeks. This is the pulpit fiction podcast. We'll see you back next week

. E Oh, yeah.

409: Advent 4B (12/20/2020)
409: Advent 4B (12/20/2020)
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