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Summary: This is a Sermon that deals with the love of music and the ability it has to talk about relationships and to deliver the News. This sermon also looks at friendship and the concept of fake friends and associates

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1) August 18, 2013 [Green]

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon Text Isaiah 5:1-7

Sermon "A love Song Gone Sour"

Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19 (UMH 801) Hebrews 11:29–12:2 Luke 12:49-56

Many of life’s memorable moments can be brought to mind just by hearing a favorite song. Consider Sam Cooke’s protest song, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and the ways it evokes the civil rights crisis of the early 1960s, or John Lennon’s song of peace, “Imagine,” which has as a point of reference the Vietnam War. Or even “Fight the Power” by PE that dealt with the Virginia Beach Riots

These and many other songs not only grab moments of the human experience but also give voice to a social critique. When Jimi Hendrix transfixed the crowds of Woodstock with his gripping version of "The Star Spangled Banner," he was building on a foundation reaching back, in part, to the revolutionary guitar playing of Howlin' Wolf and the other great Chicago bluesmen, and to the Delta blues tradition before him. But in its unforgettable introduction, followed by his unaccompanied "talking" guitar passage and inserted calls and responses at key points in the musical narrative, Hendrix's performance of the national anthem also hearkened back to a tradition even older than the blues, a tradition rooted in the rings of dance, drum, and song shared by peoples across Africa. Music has taken us on fascinating journeys from the African ring, through the ring shout's powerful merging of music and dance in the slave culture, to the funeral parade practices of the early new Orleans jazzmen, the bluesmen in the twenties, the beboppers in the forties, and the free jazz, rock, Motown, concert hall composers of the sixties, streets of Bed-Stuy in New York. and beyond.

Song can speak to Social Crisis

Speaking to power through song was a common practice among the prophets of Israel. Just like it has been in our history and is today. I am packing my bags to go to the celebration of the 1963 August 28 March on Washington and one of the questions I want to know as we look at issues like the repel of sections of the voters right bill and the killing of Trayvon Martin what's the song.

In Isaiah 5:1-5, the prophet who writes switches to the role of ballad-singer, introducing his listeners to a song titled “My Dearest Friend’s Vineyard.”

The ballad begins by narrating the story of a dear friend’s vineyard on top of a fertile hill and recounts the labor that went into caring and maintaining this vineyard.

“He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.” (v. 2)

With poetic leaps, this song transports us to the top of a hill, inside of a watchtower, and through a wine vat. We are invited to linger on the long time-lapse of the planting season—from seedling to yielded grapes.

Yet rather than languish in the nostalgia of country life, the ballad-singer moves us to the crisis of a vineyard yielding worthless sour grapes.

Move 1) I don't know about y'all but I have known some sour grapes. Grapes that look like one thing and are truly another; I've met some folks that were sour grapes; I've experience churches that were sour grapes.

It gets bad at times with all the sour grapes people that were suppose to be good who you had worked with and loved and cared for yet in the end they turned out to be sour it makes you wonder is there anybody that feels the same way about The Lord that you feel, anybody that has the same kind of God stuff in them that you have anybody that loves my Jesus. Anybody here that loves my lord?

Following the song, the ballad-singer returns to a prophetic voice and identifies his listeners as the “inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah.” (v.3)

Indeed, the themes expressed in his narrative ballad would have resonated deeply with the cultural life of the prophet’s Judean audience.

This was a song of and for the Judeans.

Speaking on behalf of the God of Israel, the prophet interprets for his listeners the song’s underlying message. The crisis of worthless sour grapes is decoded as acts of oppression and injustice in Judean society (v. 7).

So God turns his back on his people, he stop fooling with them. As a result, God, the vineyard owner, will no longer attend to the upkeep of the vineyard: “I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.” (v.5, NRSV)

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