The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 11), July 23, 2023

July 6, 2023 | by Monica Corsaro

Reading 1 Reading 2 Reading 3 Reading 4 Reading 1 Alt Reading 2 Alt
Genesis 28:10-19a Psalm 139 1-12, 23-24 Romans 8:12-25, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 Wisdom of Solomon 12:13,16-19

This week’s lectionary integrates scripture, film, and music.  Today’s congregants never receive scripture or sermon in isolation but in context of our cultural images, many of which involve drama and music.  Below are some suggestions of some pop culture expressions that could add to your storytelling. This by no means is exhaustive just some that have meaning for me that might light your imaginations. I have my own tastes and realize there might be some genres missing, use these suggestions to let your creativity flow to use your own, and enjoy.

Themes: Intimacy, Intimacy, Intimacy

Pop Culture Films: “Field of Dreams” (Genesis) Scene: Ray Kinsella hearing a voice in the cornfield. Yentl “Papa Can You Hear Me (Genesis) “Harvey” 1950 film Avatar (Genesis)

Pop Culture Musicals: For the Good, Wicked “Bring Him Home,” Les Miserables (Psalms),” Cell Block Tango,” Chicago (Romans)  “She Used To Mine” Waitress,  (any or all) “Good Night My Someone,” The Music Man (any or all)

Here again, God needing to tell the human, in this “next generation” that indeed God is here, and we will be with Abraham’s family for the generations to come, you just have to allow yourself to be aware of me and know that I am present. Lots to play with here reader-listener-preacher.  We are told dreams tell us what is really on our mind, just as the conscious does not want to acknowledge thoughts, sometimes we must let the unconscious lead as is what is happening.  Like in this moment with Jacob.  In this moment, nothing is getting in the way, God says in 28:15 Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you.”  Now that is a faithful God “I will not leave you till I have done what is promised you.”  What we do process thinkers and preachers is not have faith, we do faithing.  We are doing at every moment and God is with us in every moment. The faith life is not an object, but an action word and we have to make sure we connect and reconnect with the created-ing and the ONE.  It is always a negotiation and a worthy one.  After this charging of his battery Jacob is now prepared to serve God even rising early, he cannot wait! And as we travel through the texts the theme of God’s intimacy with us continues in a profound way, God knows we the human. As the Psalmist praises in song 139: 2 “You know when I sit down and when I rise, you discern my thoughts from far away. And it continues in 139.3 You search my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.”  All any of us want is someone who knows us, and knows our ways. And. stays.  God is loyal, God is loving, God is not judgy and in all their imperfections the Psalmist knows God can be counted on. Now this is a God who can love much and take much. Notice once again, the Psalmist here is an active participant in the love relationship and even calls out to God. 139:23 Search me, O God and know my heart, test me and know my thoughts. The human can ask God to be in fuller relationship because God wants to know us, is interested in us, and wants to be intimate with the human.

And more and more and more relating in the Wisdom of Solomon and Isaiah.  First from Solomon all that has been taught to the generations by God’s actions with the significance placed again on the human.  God is not just in the here in the now but for generations to come!

Process thinkers take this text and own it!  You even got Paul saying the most intimate of all lines “Abba” Father or Dad!  We are of the Spirit and of the flesh and own it!!!! We do not have to make bad decisions about our bodies because we are intimate with God we can make good decisions about our bodies and in our fleshy relationships with others, What? Yes!

And then we come to Matthew. In this Sower of good seed bad weeds, we are reminded sometimes our enemies are among us. We are close in proximity (intimacy in another way) And God is very aware of their ungodly ways, but we can have boundaries because we are autonomous. We are good plants!  We might have to share the space, but they will get what they deserve.  13:42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  13:43 And the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen! Hey listener-writer-preacher, I am listening for God is talking.

Reverend Doctor Monica Corsaro is the Settled Senior Pastor of Fairview Community Church in Costa Mesa.  Her career combines traditional ministry and political activism,steeped in a process understanding,  serving diverse communities in Washington State, Illinois, Colorado, and Southern California.  Before coming to Orange County, she led United Methodist and Christian Church, Disciples of Christ congregations in the Seattle area, and served a variety of higher education communities and settings, as campus minister at the University of Washington, chaplain of community engagement at Monmouth College, University Chaplain at Illinois Wesleyan, and Director of Spiritual Life at Knox College. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from Illinois State University, a Master of Divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology, and a doctoral degree from Wesley Theological Seminary.