The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 10), July 16, 2023

June 14, 2023 | by Monica Corsaro

Reading 1 Reading 2 Reading 3 Reading 4 Reading 1 Alt Reading 2 Alt
Genesis 25:19-34 Psalm 119:105-112 Romans 8:1-11 Matthew 13:1-9,18-23 Isaiah 55: 10-13

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: Promises made, promises broken, God is reminding us God is always steadfast. Humans flawed can still beloved and called by God.  Commodification as relationship. Greed.

Pop Culture Films and Television: East of Eden (Genesis) Any clips from the Star Wars myth dealing with good v evil, the Jedi vs the Empire, especially early dialogues between young Atiken and Lord…., Planet of the Apes, first film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Pop Culture Musicals: Les Miserables, I am Jean Valjean, Master of House (Genesis) Some Like It Hot You Coulda Not, Knocked Me Over (Romans), Six, Don’t Lose UR Head (Matthew)


You have a lot to play with here on the false premise there is good. stop. and there is evil. stop. Not so much God tell us.

Let get into it. Talk about sibling rivalry. This text, reader-listener-preacher, tells us through the story of a frustrated mama that the best and worst of us can all be in one.  Pregnant Rebekah is feeling the difficulty of being pregnant with twins who are fighting within her. She cries out to the Lord: (25:22) If it is to be this way, why do I live?” A great opportunity about the riskiness of being pregnant in these times. Take a moment to make the point, while Rebekah wants to serve God is glad, she is serving God she is doing it at great bodily risk and now what is already risky to begin with is doubled because of these twins fighting within her. What is so great for the process preacher here is that a woman, a mom to be, a wife so someone not high in the hiarchy, has an intimate relationship with God,,so much so, that she is letting God know this call thing is difficult, being pregnant is difficult and is even doubting the why of it.  She is engaged with God, with intense emotions, and even wonders out loud, why does she have to suffer so much to do this call thing.

Rebekah is no longer the woman admired from afar, she is longer a flat character, but she is real, she is complicated and not afraid to engage with God, you only ask questions of and fight in relationships that matter. Sarah will be the matriarch of Abraham’s descendants, she is making the point God, I have done everything you have asked and now you are telling me my children to be will be rivals!?  My own creation made of out of love and service to you will be conflicted and have conflict with each other.

God’s answer, yes. Two seemingly opposite values held in tension together sound familiar? It should because it is a theme that will repeat and repeat in life’s journey.

Good and bad at the same time and the singer-Psalmist of Pslam 119 is in one of their “good” moments honoring and acknowledging God for all that God is and continues to do. The singer-pslamist  says God you are “my heritage forever, they are the joy of my heart.” It is true for this moment and when it is not good, for the human,  God will continue to be in relationship with the human, because while we are flawed God is patient and steadfast, until that is God is isn’t.

Isaiah in this next portion continues in the same vain, only this time using the creative and creating language of nature and all the beauty and life we receive in nature, a great opportunity to make the point when we desecrate nature or another human for that matter, we are not of God and in fact that does brings in tension with God and it is not good.

And that complicated way humans are supposed to relate to one another, here comes Paul! Seemingly it seems simple. Anything of the flesh bad and anything of the Spirit good. Not if you read the text as a Process person.  When you hear the word flesh think instead, commodification or quid pro quo. The life in Christ is not what can you do for me?  Is that not a desire of the flesh to? If I do this for you, then you will do this for me?

8:5 “ For those who live according to the flesh (relationship is a commodification) set their minds on commodification, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the Spirit.” Paul wants to get the preacher- reader-listener to the heart of the matter, why do you do what you do? It should be because you are in right relationship with God so then you can work on being in right relationship with humans and the created. Now for God that is good.

“Greed is Good.” What?  Matthew says slow down wait a minute. In these these parables Jesus is relating to the preacher- reader-listener the seed may be able to grow when dropped onto the ground only if there is intentional work to get the seeds into deeper richer nutrient filled soil. The plant above ground will not have the link (passage way) to receive the nutrients below to the plant on top.  The plant may look good for a while but will get “scorched” by the sun and die.

The spiritual life is not about quick fixes or about individual salvation no; Jesus says: “…the one who hears the Word but cares of the world and the lure of wealth, choke the world, and it yields nothing. In other words, Greed in the as part of the Spiritual Journey is not good.

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.