Monday, January 22, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for The 5th Sunday after Epiphany (Year B)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 is a further revision and refinement of my Lectionary Ruminations and Lectionary Ruminations 2.0.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 draws on over thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without over reliance on commentaries, I intend with sometimes pointed and sometimes snarky comments and Socratic like questions, to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to lead a Bible study, draft liturgy, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.

ISAIAH 40:21-31
40:21-31 This is one of the longer readings we have seen in a while.  How does the fact that this Reading is printed as poetry rather than prose affect or influence your interpretation and application?
40:21 What have you known? What have you heard? What are the foundations of the earth? Is the prophet asking merely rhetorical questions? Listen for an echo 40:28. What are the foundations of the earth?
40:22 Who is “he”?  I am surprised by “the circle” of the earth as I would have expected a flat earth with four corners rather than a flat disk. Why are humans compared to grasshoppers?
40:23 These images seem to assert God’s sovereignty.
40:24 What are the “they”? What is Isaiah talking about? In light of the recent US Government shut down, Republican as well as Democratic leaders should perhaps ponder this verse.
40:25 God is now talking. As in 40:21, are these rhetorical questions?
40:26 Now who is speaking? What are the “these?” What is God referring to?
40:27 Is there any other instance in Scripture of anyone speaking these words? What is meant by “way?” What “right” is being referred to and has God really been ignoring it?
40:28-31 These verses are sometimes used in the funeral service.
40:28 I hear an echo of 40:21.  This sounds like a confession of faith. Does either of the Genesis creation accounts inform this this verse? This too sounds like a confession of faith.
40:29 What faint and powerless might Isaiah have in mind?
40:30-31 This is one of my favorite passages to read as part of a Service of Witness to the Resurrection and that fact probably colors my interpretation of it. No one is immortal and death may strike at any age.
4:31 What does it mean to “wait” for the Lord? What does renewing one’s strength feel like? Why am I thinking of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy? How many and what countries, beside the United States, have adopted the eagle as its national bird? I wonder if this is the favorite verse of marathoners and power walkers (I am neither).

PSALM 147:1-11, 20c
147:1 Why is it that some worshiping communities simply do not like to sing hymns and spiritual songs? How can the church carry on its tradition of musical praise when many public schools no longer offer music education and fewer and fewer people are learning to play the organ?
147:2 Who are the outcasts of Israel? What period in Jewish history does this reflect? How might recent political events, like the United States recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel?
147:3 Are the brokenhearted and wounded the same people as the outcasts of Jerusalem?
147:4 I wonder what God has to say about all the organizations that, for a small fee, will name a star after someone and then register that name. I wonder what names ancient Jews gave to the stars.
147:5 This sounds like a confession of faith as well as an expression of praise. Compare this verse to Isaiah 40:28.
147:6 Note the inversion, lifting up the downtrodden and casting down the wicked who were presumably on top because of their wickedness.
147:7 See my comments regading 147:1. What is our closest modern equivalent to the lyre?
147:8 God the cloud coverer and rain preparer.
147:9 Does God give food even to carnivores?
147:10 So God is not a horse racing or track and field fan?
147:11 What is the meaning of “fear?” Do you fear God? Might Rudolph Otto help us interpret this verse?
147:20c This is always a good way to end a Psalm and in this case the last/ending line echoes the first/opening line.

1 Corinthians 9:16-23
9:16 What is the meaning of “if?” I can almost resonate with Paul’s assertion about woe.
9:17 I think Paul’s comment calls for some spiritual and psychological honesty by those who preach.
9:18 How do “compensated” preachers handle this one?
9:19 How did Paul make himself a slave?
9:20 How could Paul make himself  a Jew when he was already a Jew?
9:21 Who were outside the law?
9:22 How did Paul become weak?  Can anyone truly be everything to all people? How would Paul have dealt with a non-homogeneous, pluralistic worshipping, spiritual, religious community? Was Paul self-differentiated?
9:23 How did Paul share in the blessings of the gospel?

Mark 1:29-39
1:29 Who were “they”? Where did Simon and Andrew live? Why are James and John mentioned?
1:30 So Simon was married? Who was and where was his wife?  Were Simon and Andrew living with Simon’s in-laws or were Simon’s in-laws and Andrew living with Simon? Who are “they” and who is “him?”
1:31 Who is “He?” What is the significance of her serving? Is there some patriarchal sexism behind this text?
1:32 Is “all” perhaps hyperbole?  What is the relationship between being sick and being possessed?
1:33 I think “the whole city” is again hyperbole? How many people might have inhabited Capernaum at this time (see Mark 1:21)?
1:34 Did Jesus cure many or all? Did he cast out many or all demons? Is his not permitting the demons to speak an example of Mark’s messianic secret?
1:35 So Jesus was a morning person!  Why pray in a deserted place? Was Jesus alone? How might this verse inform our understanding of the need for a spiritual discipline of prayer and retreat?
1:36 Who were Simon’s companions and why were Simon and his companions hunting for Jesus?
1:37 So Simon and his companions found Jesus! I did not know Jesus was lost. Is “everyone” another hyperbole? Is Simon referring to physical or spiritual searching?
1:38 What towns neighbored Capernaum? Why am I thinking of Eugene Peterson?
1:39 What if Jesus had proclaimed the message but not cast out demons? What if he had cast out demons but not proclaimed the message?  Must proclaiming the message and casting out demons go hand in hand? Why is there no mention in this verse of healing the sick (see my comments for Mark 1:32.

ADDENDUM
I am a Minister Member of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and am serving as the Interim Pastor of the Richmond United Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Ohio. Sunday Worship at Richmond begins at 11:00 AM. My various blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and Appalachian Trials.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for The 4th Sunday after Epiphany (Year B)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 is a further revision and refinement of my Lectionary Ruminations and Lectionary Ruminations 2.0.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 draws on over thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without over reliance on commentaries, I intend with sometimes pointed and sometimes snarky comments and Socratic like questions, to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to lead a Bible study, draft liturgy, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.

DEUTERONOMY 18:15-20
18:15 Who is speaking? How does God raise up prophets? Who are the prophets God has raised up in our day and age?
18:16 What and where is Horeb? What happened there? Is there any other reference to the people saying this?
18:17 Is the LORD in the habit of claiming people are right or wrong in what they say?
18:18 Is this simply a restatement of 18:15?
18:19 What does it mean to be held accountable by God? Is there anyone God does not hold accountable?
18:20 What other gods?  Do we ever presume to speak in God’s name when God has not commanded us to speak? Does not everyone eventually die?

PSALM 111
111:1 Do some Christians praise the LORD more with the mind than the heart? Who are the upright? What is the congregation?
111:2 What are the works of the Lord? How does one study them?
111:3 How do we experience the majesty and honor of God’s works?
111:4 What wonderful deeds might the Psalmist have in mind? What does it mean to gain renown?
111:5 In this context, what does it mean to fear the LORD? Does God not provide food to those who do not fear him?
111:6 What is the power of God’s works? What is the heritage of the nations?
111:7 God has hands? What are the works of God’s hands? What are God’s precepts? What does it mean that they are trustworthy? Are the works of God’s hands the same thing as God’s precepts?
111:8 What are established forever and ever, the works of God’s hands or God’s precepts? How are they performed with faithfulness and uprightness?
111:9 What is meant by redemption and how did God send it?  What is the difference between “Holy” and “awesome”? What is God’s name? Is God’s name so awesome and Holy that Christians should not pronounce it?
111:10 See my question regarding 111:5. All who practice what fear or all who practice wisdom? What is meant by “wisdom?”

1 Corinthians 8:1-13
8:1 When was the last time you were concerned about food offered to an idol? Is there any equivalent issue or similar concern in our culture or in the church today? What is meant by knowledge?
8:2 I think Socrates would have liked this verse?
8:3 Why am I thinking of Bishop Berkeley? What is preferable, to know God or to be known by God?
8:4 After all he has written about knowledge, how can Paul claim to know that “no idol in the world really exists” and that “there is no God but one?”
8:5 Who or what are these “so-called” gods and do they exist or not?
8:6 Note the “from whom” and “through whom” language. What is Paul saying?
8:4-6 What is the essence of Paul’s argument about idols, gods and God? Does this have any bearing on how we approach or engage in interfaith relations?
8:7 What is the relation between knowledge and conscience? Is Paul confusing knowledge with custom?
8:8 How might this verse impact our understanding of the spiritual discipline of fasting? What about those who are hungry, malnourished, and ministries like Bread for the World?
8:9 I understand how one person’s liberty can be another person’s stumbling block, but what about someone’s stumbling block becoming an impediment to the exercise of another person’s liberty?
8:10 In other words, don’t let people of week conscious see you engaging in adiaphorous activities?
8:11 How long shall weak believers be permitted to remain weak? Are not all believers called to grow and mature from a weak faith to a strong faith?
8:12 I would like to ask Paul what to do when people of weak faith wound my conscious by judging others when they should not be judged.
8:13 But the issue was not eating meat, rather food sacrificed to idols.
8:7-13 What is more pastoral when it comes to Bible study and preaching, to dumb things down for those whose conscious is weak, or to help people grow in faith and understanding by asking tough questions, employing recent scholarship,  and suggesting other  interpretations of Scripture they may not even be familiar with?

MARK 1:21-28
1:21 Who went to Capernaum? Where were they before they went to Capernaum? Why did they go to Capernaum and not someplace else? What do you know about Capernaum?
1:22 When was the last time you were astounded by someone’s teaching?  What does it mean to teach with authority? I’m glad I am not a scribe.
1:23 How convenient!
1:24 What is the irony here?
1:25 Why would Jesus rebuke this truth speaking spirit, even if it was an unclean spirit?
1:26 Do some people still associate convulsions with possession?
1:27 Indeed! What is this? What amazed people, a new teaching, or that Jesus taught (and acted) with authority? What is the relation between “amazed” in this verse and “astounded” in 1:22? What and where are today’s unclean spirits?
1:28 When was the last time you associated the word “fame” with Jesus? There may have been fame but apparently there was no fortune.

ADDENDUM
I am a Minister Member of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and am serving as the Interim Pastor of the Richmond United Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Ohio. Sunday Worship at Richmond begins at 11:00 AM. My various blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and Appalachian Trials.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for The 3rd Sunday After Epiphany (Year B)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 is a further revision and refinement of my Lectionary Ruminations and Lectionary Ruminations 2.0.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 draws on over thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without over reliance on commentaries, I intend with sometimes pointed and sometimes snarky comments and Socratic like questions, to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to lead a Bible study, draft liturgy, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.

JONAH 3:1-5, 10
3:1 What was the “word of the Lord” before the incarnation and how did it come to people? How many times in the average person’s life does the word of the Lord come to them?
3:2 What do you know about Nineveh and what would be a modern equivalent? What made Nineveh at that time great or is great only a reference to its size?
3:3 How large would a city have to be to take three days to walk across it?  Is this perhaps hyperbole?
3:4 What is so special about forty days? Who was about to overthrow Nineveh?
3:5 Did the people believe God or did they believe Jonah? What is the symbolic meaning of sackcloth and is there any symbolic equivalent today? Nineveh engaged in rituals meant to suggest repentance, but was Nineveh really repentant? Think about this in terms of the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday.
3:10 This verse must be a Process Theologian’s favorite verse. If God is God, God must be free and powerful enough to change the divine mind.

PSALM 62:5-12
62:5 Who else or what else might your soul wait for in silence?  What does it mean to “wait in silence?”  What do you know about contemplative/meditative prayer?
62:6 Are rock, salvation and fortress merely poetic synonyms or does each noun offer a unique nuance?
62:7 Are deliverance and honor related? In the previous verse God was a rock. In this verse God is a mighty rock. How might National Wildlife Refuges help us interpret this verse?
62:8 What times might we be tempted not to trust in God?  How does one pour out one’s heart before God? How do you deal, if at all, with “Selah”?
62:9 What is the difference between a breath and a delusion? Who are of low estate and who are of high estate? What are the “balances?” How light is a breath?
62:10 Why would anyone put confidence in extortion?  It is OK if riches increase as long as you do not set your heart on them?  How does this verse counteract the prosperity gospel? Why does the Psalmist even mention robbery, extortion, and riches?
62:11 What is the meaning of “once” and how is it related to “twice.”
62:11-12 Is God’s steadfast love the source of God’s power?
62:12 Note the shift from speaking of God in the third person to direct address. This sounds like works righteousness.

1 CORINTHIANS 7:29-31
7:29 What is “the appointed time” being referred to?  How does any time grow short?   What does it mean for those who have wives to be as though they had none? How does this passage inform Christian family values?
7:30 What does it mean to buy as though one had no possessions? Is this verse speaking about detachment?
7:31 What is the present form of the world? How does it pass away?  Are Plato and/or C. S. Lewis any help here?

MARK 1:14-20
1:14 Is “after” a chronos or a kairos reference? From where did Jesus come? What is “the good news of God?” Did Jesus not proclaim this before John was arrested?
1:15 What time is fulfilled? What does Jesus mean “the kingdom of God has come near?” Is Jesus himself the kingdom? Does he embody the kingdom?  Is the good news of God the news that the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near or something else?
1:16, 19 It sounds like Jesus had a thing for brothers.  I wonder why.
1:17 What did Jesus mean by “follow me”? What does it mean to fish for people?
1:18, 20 It sounds like Mark has a thing for “immediately”.
1:20 Why would Jesus call James and John but not their father or the hired men?

ADDENDUM
I am a Minister Member of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and am serving as the Interim Pastor of the Richmond United Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Ohio. Sunday Worship at Richmond begins at 11:00 AM. My various blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and Appalachian Trials.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy 9th Birthday, Summit to Shore

            I started blogging nine years ago when I set up this blog and posted my first piece, entitled ex nihilo. I posted more than 210 times that first year.

            I recently searched for information about the lifespan of the average blog but was not able to find anything close to a definitive answer. Anil Agarwal, at Bloggerspassion.com, writes that most blogs are abandoned within three to six months. Others have opin that blogs are generally short lived, whatever that means. One thing it might mean is that Summit to Shore has survived longer than most blogs.

            Not long after I started Summit to Shore, I also started posting to a group blog called Presbyterian Bloggersan informal and unofficial gathering of PC(USA) Bloggers established in 2006. One blogger after another eventually stopped posting. Even the administrators drifted away. I was the last blogger posting and my last contribution appeared there in early 2013. That blog enjoyed a lifespan of less than seven years. Summit to Shore has now lived two years longer than that.

            I also used to post some of my creative writing to WritingFloor.com but it too ceased, its creator’s noting “After a good run, WritingFloor will no longer be in service. The usage of the site is unfortunately too infrequent to justify the expense of maintaining our servers and databases.” I do not know when WritingFloor started and forget when it ceased. Since Summit to Shore costs me nothing other than time, I do not see myself stopping posting here anytime soon.

            Over a year ago I started posting to The Trek,  an outdoor adventure blog dedicated to all things related to long distance backpacking, especially along the Appalachian Trail,  Pacific Crest Trail, and everything in between.” When I started posting there The Trek was titled Appalachian Trials but changed its name to better reflect its focus. As a Trek Writer I posted on The Trek twice a month for a year. I still occasionally post there but not as regularly.

            I started Summit to Shore primarily to force myself to learn more about social media, especially blogging, and as an outlet for some of my creative writing. I have posted original poetry, prose and photography. Barely a week has gone by that I have not posted at least once. Sometimes I post several times a week. I have never made a cent off any of it and never intended to.

            My first year blogging, 2009, was certainly the most prolific with 210 posts still remaining on the blog. 2013 was my least productive years as only 22 posts from that year remain up. Some from that year have been deleted.

            In my very first post, ex nihilo, I wrote that “My hope and prayer is that through this blog I might create a world in which to share my Philosophical and Theological thoughts, reflections, musing and opinions from a progressive perspective, and that readers might by chance, upon entering this world, catch a glimpse of something higher, deeper and more transcendent.” I think my hope and prayer have been somewhat fulfilled. What do you think?
            The most viewed post of all time is Chronological Linksto Cycling from DC to PGH Series of Blog PostsDuring the summer of 2015, a friend and I cycled along the C and O Canal Towpath and Great Allegheny Passage from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, PA. I wrote several posts about that trip, one post per day plus pre-trip and post-trip reflections. This most viewed posts offers links to that dispersed series.

            The second most viewed post is an August 2012 post entitled We Sailed. The post offers an original poem and photograph from back when I owned a C&C 24 that I sailed around Jamaica Bay and the waters around New York City. It is one of my favorite poems and posts. 

           Riding Solo Or With A Group, a recent post in which I reflect on the advantages of cycling alone compared with the advantages of cycling with a group, is the latests post to enter the most viewed list. This post is actually an edited section from a theological reflection paper I was required to write as part of the Spiritual Formation Certificate Program at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

            Hiking, Cycling, and Kayaking NearWellsburg, WV, the 4th most viewed post, combines my love of three outdoor adventure sports and my ability to enjoy them within easy driving distance of my home town, which I moved back to a little over four years ago after being away for nearly forty years. It is also an early attempt at stretching my creative writing to embrace Outdoor Adventure Writing. 

           The fifth most viewed post, A Poem of Protest, is a free verse poem I wrote in response to gun violence. I post a link  to this poem on Face Book and twitter almost every time there is another senseless mass shooting.

            Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, November 13, 2016, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), is the sixth most viewed Summit to Shore post. In a sense, there is nothing special about it, but it does serve as an example of my most prolific type of posting. I have been writing a series of Lectionary Ruminations for five years or more but have started deleting older posts as I have updated and edited them as my original Lectionary Ruminations have morphed into Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 and is now Lectionary Ruminations 2.5. 

           Would I have been better off focusing my blog on a single topic or interest? Perhaps, but I have so many varied interests that I have needed a broadly focused, eclectic blog to serve as a platform for my creative writing. I think this broad focus will serve in the future as well. Do you agree?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for 2nd Sunday after Epiphany (Year B)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 is a further revision and refinement of my Lectionary Ruminations and Lectionary Ruminations 2.0.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 draws on over thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without over reliance on commentaries, I intend with sometimes pointed and sometimes snarky comments and Socratic like questions, to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to lead a Bible study, draft liturgy, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.

PREFACE
The 2nd Sunday after Epiphany can also be called The 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Nomenclature depends upon one’s denominational affiliation.

1 SAMUEL 3:1-10 (11-20)
3:1-10 Will you use all twenty verses or just the first ten? I generally use just the first ten.
3:1 What does it mean that “the voice of the Lord was rare in those days”?  What does the voice of the Lord sound like? Is the voice of the Lord rare today? Why are visions no longer widespread?
3:2 What does Eli’s failing eyesight have to do with the story?
3:3 What is the lamp of God? What does the ark of God represent? What do you know about the spiritual discipline of incubation?  Have you ever slept in the sanctuary of a church?
3:4 Why does the Lord call Samuel’s name twice? Who else is called with their name being used twice? Where have we heard “Here I am” before? Why am I thinking of Dan Schutte?
3:5 Maybe the problem was that Eli had not called him.
3:6 Why does Eli refer to Samuel as “my son”?
3:7 How can God be calling a person by name if that person does not know God or the word of God has not yet been revealed to that person? What does it mean to know the Lord? What does it mean for the word of the Lord to be revealed?
3:8 Is there any symbolism behind the fact that God called Samuel three times?
3:9 How often do we not listen when the Lord is speaking? What do you think of the Spiritual Direction Eli offers Samuel?
3:10 Note that the Lord did not call but rather “stood” there?  Was this a vision or was the Lord physically present?
(3:11) What makes your ears tingle? Do your ears ever tingle during Sunday morning worship?
(3:12) But we have not heard (in this reading) what was spoken.
(3:13) What does this say to parents whose children are not churched?
(3:14) So sacrifices and offerings have only limited effect?
(3:15) How many people do you think might have experienced a spiritual vision but are afraid to talk about it with anyone, even their pastor?
(3:16) Samuel still responds to Eli the same way he responded to God. How many times have we heard “Here I am” in this passage?
(3:17) How many people hide spiritual matters from their Pastor or Spiritual Director? Why is Eli so interested in what the Lord told Samuel
(3:18) Who is quoted, Samuel or Eli?
(3:19) What does it mean for the Lord to be with someone? Is the Lord with you? Do your words
ever fall to the ground?
(3:20) How does one earn the trustworthiness of others? What is the difference between a trustworthy and an untrustworthy prophet?

PSALM 139:1-6, 13-18
139:1 How does the Lord search us?  What does it mean to be known by the Lord?
139:2 How far away?
139:3 What is the meaning of “path”?
139:4 How can God know what we are going to say before we ourselves know?
139:5 What does it mean to be hemmed in by God?
139:6 What was inscribed on the Temple at the Oracle of Delphi?
139:13 What about in-vitro fertilization?
139:14 Can the Human body, or the human eye, still be used to argue for intelligent design?  What would Darwin say about this verse? What would an Oncologist say?
139:15 Was the psalmist woven in the depths of the earth or knitted in his or her mother’s womb?
139:16 What is unformed substance? Is this book available for Kindle or the Nook? Can I purchase it from Amazon?
139:17 How much do God’s thoughts weigh? How can thoughts be added up?
139:18 Do you recall the story of Augustine and sand at the beach?

1 CORINTHIANS 6:12-20
6:12 Just because I have the right to do something does not mean I should do it.
6:13 What is the definition of fornication? Did it mean anything different in Paul’s day than it does today? How do we responsibly deal with this verse when many young adults are postponing marriage until they are in their late 20’s or even early 30’s?
6:14 How did we go from food to fornication to resurrection?
6:15 Is Paul suggesting that fornication and prostitution are one and the same?
6:16 I wonder if Paul is thinking about cultic/temple/pagan prostitution of just run of the mill sex-for-hire prostitution.
6:17 How does one become united to the Lord?
6:12-18 Why is Paul singling out fornication? Perhaps Paul doth protest too much.
6:19-20 I think these verses have been used to speak out against the abuse as well as the use of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, meat, and who knows what else.

JOHN 1:43-51
1:43 What happened the day before this? Please note: Jesus found Philip.  Philip did not find Jesus.  I think I will market a new bumper sticker saying “Jesus Found Me.”
1:44 What do you know about Bethsaida? I wonder if Philip knew Andrew and Peter.
1:45 Who was Nathaniel? Maybe I will market a bumper sticker that reads “Philip Found Me.” Who are “we?”  I would not be expecting to read “son of Joseph here”?  Why not son of Mary or The Virgin Mary?
1:46 Is this a rhetorical question?  What was the problem with Nazareth? Is not “come and see” the quintessential invitation?  I prefer it to “Are you saved?”
1:47 How could Jesus know this? Compare this to John 1:29 and 1:36. At this point I would be expecting to read a lot more about Nathaniel than we are given in this Gospel.
1:48 I think Psalm 139:16 would have been a better answer. Was there only one fig tree in Bethsaida?
1:49 And Jesus did not even ask Nathaniel who people said he (Jesus) was! Does Nathaniel’s statement qualify as a confession of faith?
1:50 Nathaniel will see greater things than what?
1:51 Was this ever fulfilled or is Nathaniel still waiting to see this spectacular thing? Why would angels of God be both ascending and descending upon the Son of Man? Is this the first occurrence of “Son of Man” imagery and language in this Gospel?

ADDENDUM

I am a Minister Member of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and am serving as the Interim Pastor of the Richmond United Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Ohio. Sunday Worship at Richmond begins at 11:00 AM. My various blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and Appalachian Trials.