The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 9), July 9, 2023

June 13, 2023 | by Monica Corsaro

Reading 1 Reading 2 Reading 3 Reading 4 Reading 1 Alt Reading 2 Alt
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 Psalm 145: 8-14 Romans 7:15-25a Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 Song of Solomon 2:8-13

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: The call to serve, the Feminine, longing, authentic relationship, openness

Pop Culture Films: Wally-e (Song of Solomon) Lincoln (Zechariah) Henry and June (Matthew)

Pop: Culture Musicals: Matchmaker, Fiddler On the Roof,(Genesis) The Hills are Alive, Sound of Music (Song of Solomon) La Bohemia, Rent (Song of Solomon), Circle of Life, Lion King (Song of Soloman)

Summary: The Process of these texts: Goes from Rebekah being desired at the water’s edge for her flesh and that she can create life, to Song of Solomon celebrating the body, the flesh and love through metaphor to then Paul acknowledging when the essence of who we are is in conflict with who we are then in fact we do not own our flesh we become separated from our own essence and what God wants of us….to Jesus celebrating the flesh enjoying the flesh as in the taste of good flavors, of food and the good flavors of wine in its’ best way, with others. Human, it is ok to be vulnerable, like an infant.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker find me a match…. that seems to be the task of Abraham’s assignment. As we arrive to today’s text it has been many years since that whole sacrifice of Isaac to God episode. Isaac is now forty and needs a wife so that the blessings God promised to Abraham can indeed be bestowed upon Abraham descendants. For that to happen there need to be descendants, so thus a wife is in order.

Abraham ‘s most trusted servant is called to the task. Two stipulations first the servant must swear not to get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites from whom I live, but (to) go to my country and to my kindred and get a wife for my son Isaac.: (24:3-4)) Second, the servant must swear not to take Isaac with him on the task. (24:6,8). Presumably Abraham is concerned that Isaac will be

tempted to resettle in his new wife’s land family and thus forfeit his stake in the land of Canaan, which the Lord had promised to give Abraham and his descendants.

So, Abraham thinking like a Patriarch of his family, has a deal with God, and Abraham remembering his past does not want to seem he is not keeping up his end with God. No loopholes after all. And just as the servant was asking God, please find me THE woman it happens! 24:42,” I came today to the spring and, O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now you will only make successful the way I am going.” There she appears remember this is good storytelling after all.

I think this an opportunity to reader-listener—preacher that at this point, this not a love story but an economic one. And in fact, one that at this point, the main participants do not have much say in, Rebekah does say she will go when asked but she really has no idea what she is getting into, it’s not a like a first date, it is a marriage and a major move from the only place she has known. Not one but two big stressors that rate very high, on the stresses of life, meter. But Rebekah knowing her role and knowing this will be survival and protection in a family says, “I will go.” The question to ponder to the listener, is your faith deep enough for you to say yes, even if you do not know all you are saying yes to? This text is full of tradition formality and custom but as we journey to Song of Solomon the writer-speaker has been set free and it is pure aestheticism expressed in emotion and adulation.

My beloved speaks to me and says to me:( 2:10 ) “Arise my love, my fair one come away.” (2:12) The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.”

This is a great opportunity to remind folks that yes you can express yourself like the poet here. This person is in love and wants the world to know it. Using metaphor of the created we know the poet is talking about their lover, so this rich text communicates to us on many levels as good poetry does. Continue with the metaphor, process person.

God is in love with us and wants us to feel it. Say it again, God is in love with us and wants us to feel it. (2:12) The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

But hey the person, persons, the animals and or the creation that is around you, will not know you are in love with them unless your words, and or actions show it. What relationships are in? How do you participant in those relationships, what is in your imprint on the planet do you take time each day to be grateful for the abundant life all around us that God has blessed us with? Opportunity to preach the micro to the macro of relationships here.

And talk about a play on relationship as Zachariah paints for us the picture of the teacher, movement maker, riding on the donkey. As we know only royalty do that. And we also know this is not a direct prophesy about Jesus’s triumphant ride in Jerusalem, no instead this is a people beleaguered people not able to practice their religion live their culture fully. These texts remind the people they will overcome their despair and they will have a leader to do it. Remind your the listener, preacher, that Jesus knew his texts and knew by he riding in the streets of the Jerusalem the many years later, the power it would hold for those who also knew their texts especially, the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus was a rabbi and a strategist, and he in his journey on the donkey was a direct action against the Pharisees and Sadducees and the Occupying Roman Empire. The God of the people is not Rome. The God Zechariah serves is here and will not abandon the people there is hope. The God of the Psalmist is there for the singer and the singer sings in thanks.

God is gracious and slow to anger and does have compassion for all including we the reader-listener, and because of this love we want to share it with others. Others will not know of God’s compassion unless they see it through how we speak about God and show others in the actions we take.

Again a theme here, how are our relationships with others and with the created? (145:12) “We are to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.”

And when your thoughts and actions are without integrity then you will find yourself separated from God as Paul says. If I do not know that indeed I am beloved and I am good then the motivations for what I do may not be good and in those times when I may be feeling not right with myself. I have God’s law to rely on and to hold me gently until I then can be steeped in the love of Jesus. And brings us to Matthew, Jesus reminds us the body and the sensual is good, it does not have to be about good and bad flesh and not of the flesh. God is found in the experience of the senses. Matthew says Jesus is eating and drinking with the tax collectors and sinners that’s what makes him of God. It is the religious leaders who are blinded by their own arrogance that they do not see the wisdom of God right in front of them. But the infant because not clouded by judgment, arrogance and or “what is supposed to be” sees God and experiences God through the senses. What does an infant do for most of it’s waking experience, eats and drinks. 11:25-26 At that time Jesus said, “I thank you Father, Lord in heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants, yes Father, for such was your gracious will. God is at God’s best with the vulnerable for that is when we are most open to receive, the lesson, have the courage to be vulnerable.

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.