Monday, October 20, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, October 26, 2014, the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.

PREFACE: Some might be observing this Sunday as Reformation Sunday? Will you? If so, how would these Readings lend themselves to such? Is observing Reformation Sunday counterproductive in a post-denominational age?

34:1-3 Why all the geographical references? Do we know today where all these places are?
34:4 Once again, the women are not mentioned.   Why would God allow Moses to see this land, even show him this land, if he were not going to be allowed to enter it?
34:5 Did Moses die on Mount Nebo or on the plains of Moab?
34:6 We know the vicinity of where he was buried but not the actual place.  Why not?
34:7 Is there any sexual connotation here?
34:8 Why mourn thirty days?
34:9 Was Joshua ordained by Moses?  What is so special about the laying on of hands? Why? What do you know about Reiki?
34:10 It was true then but is it still true today? The LORD may have known Moses face to face but did Moses know the LORD face to face?
34:11 What signs and wonders?
34:12 What mighty deeds and terrifying displays of power? Is this verse simply reiterating the preceding verse for emphasis and linguistic effect?

90:1 How can the Lord be a dwelling place?  What does it mean to dwell in the Lord?
90:2 God was God even before the big bang?
90:3 Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, or in a more modern cosmology, ashes to ashes, star-dust to star-dust.
90:4 I know this is metaphor, but do the metaphorical math.  1000years = 1 day. What is a watch in the night?
90:5 What does “them” refer to, to mortals or to 1000 years? How are dreams like grass renewed in the morning?
90:6 Is this a comment about the human lifespan?
90:13 Is the Psalmist asking the LORD to repent?
90:14 I think this verses harkens back to verse 5b.  As the grass is renewed in the morning, God’s steadfast love renews us daily.
90:15 How many days has the Psalmist’s community been afflicted? How many years have they seen evil?
90:16 Is the Psalmist is asking the LORD to show some results?
90:17 What work?
90:1-6,13-17 Does this psalm reflect the pre-Exodus or post-Exodus period? God is timeless but we are not. May our labor, our work, not be in vain.

2:1 Were some claiming that it was in vain?
2:2 Shame on those Philippians. What was the nature of the great opposition? What do we do with this “gospel of God” when we usually use the terminology “Gospel of Jesus Christ”?
2:3 Were some claiming that Paul and his companions were engaging in deceit, impure motives, or trickery? Are any contemporary religious leaders similarly accused?
2:4 Is this a biblical warrant for being faithful over being popular or successful?
2:5 I am hearing a refrain.  “As you know” here and “You yourselves know” in 2:1
2:6 What religious leader does not occasionally appreciate praise, especially during Clergy Appreciation Month?
2:7 What sort of demands?  What is the imagery of a “nurse tenderly caring for her own children”?
2:8 How does Paul and his colleagues share their own selves?

22:34 Is the Gospel writer playing on some rivalry here? What is the difference between Pharisees and Sadducees?
22:35 What is the meaning of “test”?
22:36 Was he asking about the Decalogue or the entire Levitical law code? Was this anything like a presbytery’s examination of a candidate seeking ordination?
22:37 What is Jesus quoting? Is this from The Shema?
22:38-39 If this is the first and greatest, how can there be anything like it?
22:39 What is Jesus quoting?
22:40 Why does Jesus add the prophets to the law?
22:41 This is becoming a dialogue.  Is this question also a test, a tit for tat? Is Jesus attempting to turn the tables?
22:42 Were not all male Jews “sons of David”?
22:43 Why does Jesus say “by the Spirit”?
22:44 What is Jesus quoting?
22:45 Jesus and I are still waiting for the Pharisees to answer. How would you answer the question?
22:46 As a practitioner of the Socratic Method, I think questions are good.  Sometimes the questions we ask are more important than any answer we might receive. Why would the Pharisees no longer ask Jesus and questions?

ADDENDUM

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, October 19, 2014, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.
  
33:12-23 How would you categorize the conversation between Mosses and the LORD?
33:12 Why does Moses think the LORD will send someone with him? It sounds like Moses is reminding the Lord of what the LORD has promised. Does the LORD need reminded?
33:13 Do you think Moses has found favor in the LORD’s sight? Have you?
33:14 What is the LORD’s “presence”?  Is this the answer Moses might have been expecting?
33:15 Is Moses challenging The LORD or putting the LORD on notice?
33:16 Where is the LORD’s presence today?
33:17 It seems Moses gets his way! What does it mean that the LORD knows the name of Moses? Does the LORD know your name?
33:18 What is the LORD’s “glory”?
33:19 Once again it seems like Moses is going to get what he asked for.
33:20 Why can no one look upon the face of the LORD and live? Have there been any exceptions?
33:21 Why are many holy places rocks, rocky, or associated with rcoks?
33:22 Why will the LORD put Moses in a cleft of the rock and cover the face of Moses?
33:23 So the LORD is basically planning to “moon” Moses?

99:1 Why would the peoples tremble? What and where are cherubim and how does God sit enthroned upon them?
99:2 What and where is Zion?
99:3 How does one praise the LORD’s name when the LORD’s name is never pronounced?
99:3, 5, 9 What does it mean to be “Holy”?
99:4 What is this righteousness?
99:5 How does one extol the LORD? What and where is the LORD’s footstool? 
99:6 Is this Psalm as much about Moses, Aaron, and Samuel as it is The LORD?
99:7 Why does the LORD not speak like this anymore?
99:8 How can the LORD be both forgiving and avenging?
99:9 What and where is the LORD’s holy mountain?

1:1 It appears three people are writing this letter.  What else do we know about Silvanus and Timothy?
1:2 Always?  Constantly? Is this hyperbole?
1:3 What work and labor might the authors be referring to?
1:4 Who is “he”?
1:5 What do power, the Holy Spirit, and full conviction add to the word?
1:6 How did the Thessalonians imitate Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and Jesus?
1:7 Where are Macedonia and Achaia and how did the Thessalonians become examples to people in those places?
1:8 How has the faith of the Thessalonians become known in other places?
1:9 How would the people in Macedonia and Achaia know this?
1:10 Not that “rescues” is in the present, not the future tense.

22:15 Who and what were the Pharisees? Can you spell “conspiracy”?
22:16 Who were the Herodians and why were they conspiring with the Pharisees? Where these people speaking the truth even though they sought to entrap Jesus?
22:17 What is the trap that is being set?
22:18 What was their malice?  Why are they hypocrites? How was Jesus aware of their malice?
22:19 What do you know about the denarius? What is the irony here?
22:20 I suggest you consult some other translations of this verse.  What are other options for the Greek translated here as “head”?
22:21 What things are God’s?
22:22 Why were the Herodians and the disciples of the Pharisees amazed?

ADDENDUM

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, October 12, 2014, the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.


32:1 The people grow impatient with Moses and in the vacuum left by his leadership turn to Aaron.  What lesson might pastors learn from this? Did the people think Aaron would do for them what Moses would not?
32:2 Gold is currently selling for about $1,200/oz.
32:3 Is this an an example of group think?
32:4 Why a calf?  Why is “calf” singular and “gods” plural?
32:5 What good is a golden calf without an altar?
32:6 This sounds like a party.
32:7 The LORD finally speaks up but it seems like the LORD is placing the blame for the idolatry or the responsibility for correcting entirely on Moses.
32:8 Did the golden calf represent other gods, or was it meant to represent the LORD?
32:9 What does stiff necked mean?
32:10 Is the LORD offering Moses a bribe? A reward?  A temptation?
32:11 Note that the LORD is the God of Moses, not of the people.  Is Moses buttering-up God? Compare this verse to 32:7.
32:12 Is Moses appealing to the LORD’s pride?
32:13 Does the LORD really need to be reminded? Why are the women never mentioned?
32:14 The LORD changes the divine mind? God repents?

106:1 Must love endure forever in order to be steadfast?
106:2 Is this a rhetorical question?
106:3 Can anyone then be happy?
106:4 What does it mean to be remembered by God?
106:5 This is beginning to sound like a nationalistic Psalm.
106:6 Here is a good phrase to include in a prayer of confession of sin, but how does it follow from what precedes it?
106:19 Are we to read this as a comment on how our ancestors in verses 6 sinned?
106:20 Can glory ever be captured by any image?
106:21 Is the issue really forgetfulness or is it idolatry?
106:22 What were the works in the land of Ham?
106:23 Is Moses an illustration of what it means to “stand in the breach”? Who created the breach and how?

4:1 I hate it when a Reading begins with “therefore” because we are not hearing what came before. How and why are the Philippians Paul’s “joy and crown”?
4:2 If Euodia and Syntyche are conflicted, it seems Paul is not taking sides.
4:3 Whom is Paul addressing as “my loyal companion”?  What does this verse possible say about women serving as leaders in the early church?  Is “The Book of Life” available from Amazon.com and/or available for download on a kindle? Of all Paul’s coworkers, why are only Euddia, Syntyche, and Clement named?
4:4 This is surely an often quoted verse but usually out of context.
4:5 What does letting your gentleness be known have to do with the Lord being near?
4:6 Does the advice of this verse depend on the fact that “The Lord is near” or is this advice good anytime?
4:7 What do you understand the peace of God to be?
4:8 This is quite a list of adjectives. What are you thinking about right now?
4:9 What do you think the Philippians learned, received, heard, and saw?

22:1 In seems the author is aware that Jesus often spoke in parables.
22:2 Here is “a kingdom parable”.  Must we equate the king with God and the son with Jesus?
22:3 How do we deal with slave language with all its connotations? How is this parable similar to the parable in Matthew 21:33-46 from last week?
22:4 Any connection between the “oxen” and “calves” of this passage and Exodus 32:1-14 is purely coincidental.
22:5 What does it mean to “make light of” something?
22:6 Once again, see Matthew 21:22-46.
22:7 Was the King’s response a reasonable one?
22:8 Why I am thinking of Wayne’s World?
22:9 If the city was burned (22:7), who would be hanging out on the main streets?
22:10 So the kingdom of God is filled with both good and bad?
22:11 What is a wedding robe?
22:12 I think he should have answered “Your slaves invited me and I was gathered in with everyone else here”.
22:13 I know this is only a parable, but still, this seems like harsh punishment simply for showing up at a royal wedding underdressed.  What do you think?
22:14 What is the difference between being “called” and “chosen”.  Some Presbyterians might read this as “many are cold but few are frozen.”

ADDENDUM

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM. Please like The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz on Facebook.




Monday, September 29, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, October 5, 2014, the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.

PREFACE: This Sunday is World Communion Sunday. How will this influence how you approach these texts?

20:1 What might it mean that what follows are referred to as “words”?  How did God speak them? Why does he Revised Common Lectionary skip over some of these words?
20:2 Why, in the NRSV and many other translations, does “LORD” appear in all uppercase letters? Why does the LORD need an introduction?
20:3 What about other gods “after” the LORD?
20:4 What about imaginative or imaginary forms?  Does Plato’s theory of forms have anything to say here?  What about Anselm’s ontological argument?  How do we make idols today?  How do Moslems avoid making idols?
20:7 What about making a rightful use of the name of the LORD? What is the name of the LORD?
20:8 When is the sabbath day? I think Seventh Day Adventists have a right to boast about this one.  How do you remember the sabbath day and keep it holy?
20:12 This one comes with a promise—or is it a reward? Why?
20:13 What is murder?  We seem to have wordsmithed this one to death!
20:14 Does this commandment prohibit premarital sex?
20:15 Unless the thief is already rich and has the government behind them?
20:16 What about bearing false witness against people who are not your neighbor?  Does Jesus have anything to add here?
20:17 Why does “house” appear before “wife”?  What about anything that belongs to someone other than your neighbor?
20:18 Where did the sound of the trumpet come from? Why were the people afraid?
20:19 Why did the people think they would die if God spoke to them?
20:20 Is the fear of God the only motivation not to sin?
20:1-20 Early in my ministry I discovered Jan Milic Lochman’s Signposts to Freedom: The Ten Commandments andChristian Ethics and I highly recommend it as a thoughtful interpretation of the Ten Commandments.

19:1-6 Do we have to buy into a pre-Copernican three-tiered universe in order to read this as God’s word?
19:1 How do the heavens tell the glory of God?
19:2-4 Is anyone else confused by these verses?
19:4b-6 Is this an anthropomorphic personification of the sun? Why is the moon not mentioned?
19:7-9 Were you aware there are so many synonyms for “law”?
19:10 Since when is the law, any law, more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey?
19:11 Is reward the only motivation for keeping God’s law?
19:11 Is this a rhetorical question?
19:If one simply keeps away from the riff raff, all will be well?
19:14 This verse is often quoted/prayed by preachers before they preach a sermon, and I think wrongly so.  A Prayer for Illumination prior to the reading of Scripture is sufficient for both the reading of the word and the preaching of the word.

3:4b Is there a pun or innuendo at work here?
3:5 Is Paul bragging? Establishing his Jewish credentials?
3:6 Did Paul really think he was blameless under the law?
3:7 What gains might Paul have had?
3:8 What has Paul lost?
3:9 Why is Paul so concerned about righteousness?
3:10 How will Paul become like Christ in his death?
3:11 Why the “if”?
3:12-14 What metaphor is Paul employing? What prize is Paul looking forward to?

21:33 Is this really a parable? Is it acceptable to equate God with the land owner?  Who might the tenants be?
21:34-36 Who might the slaves be? Why did the tenants treat the slaves as they did?
21:37 A son, but not necessarily an only son.
21:38 How would killing the son get the tenants the inheritance?
21:39 Who might the son be?
21:40-41 Who answered Jesus? Who might the other tenants be?
21:42 Where might we read this in scripture?
21:43 What is the issue, producing fruits or not treating representatives of the landowner so harshly? What are the fruits of the kingdom? Is this parable a “kingdom parable”?
21:44 Who or what is the stone?
21:45 Why were the chief priests and Pharisees listening? If verse 45 is true, what, then, is the irony of verse 46?

ADDENDUM

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Churchof Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, September 28, 2014, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.

17:1 Where was the wilderness of Sin?  I wonder how worshipers hear the location. What does it mean to journey by stages?  Did the LORD command them to journey or to journey by stages? Why would anyone camp at a place where there was no water?
17:2 How many times now, have the people quarreled with Moses?  How is quarrelling with Moses the same as testing the LORD?
17:4 How many pastors, how many times, have similarly cried out?
17:5 Apparently Moses served in a multi staff congregation!  I want to know more about this staff.  Where might it be now? Why am I thinking of Gandalf and his staff?
17:6 How would Moses recognize the LORD standing on the rock? Was this a well-known rock?  What do you know about Horeb? Were the elders there to serve as witnesses?
17:7 “Is the LORD among us or not” seems to be the question of the day.  Why do we never see churches with names like “The Massah …” or “The Meribah (put your denomination here) Church”? Why is quarreling and the grumbling rather than the water from the rock remembers by the naming?

78:1 Who speaking here?
78:2 Apparently someone was teaching in parables centuries before Jesus.  I love the phrase “dark sayings from of old”.  It reminds me of literature such as Beowulf and the Legend of King Arthur as well as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  I imagine the whole congregation of Israel gathered around a blazing fire while camped for the night, telling stories from the past as well as re-hashing the day’s events.
78:3 I sometimes wonder what dark sayings from of old have been lost from the oral tradition. How does preaching contribute to the oral tradition?
78:4 Why would anyone want to hide such things from their children? Were they ashamed of their past? What are the glorious deeds of the LORD? What wonders has the LORD done?
78:12 In the sight of whose ancestors? Where is Zoan?
78:13-16 Are these the only glorious deeds of the LORD and the only wonders God has done.
78:15-16 Do these two verses talk about the same thing?

2:1 Why “if”?
2:2 Are we to assume Paul’s joy was not complete?
2:4 This seems to run against most current practices.
2:5 Based on this verse, are we then to think and act in accordance with 2:6-8?
2:6 How would one exploit equality with God?
2:9-10 Was “Jesus” above every name before it was given to Christ, or was it elevated above every name because of Christ’s obedience? What knees are under the earth?
2:11 Is this not the most basic confession of the Christian faith?
2:12 How have the Philippians “obeyed” Paul? How do we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling?
2:13 Or?  What is the meaning and function of this verse?

21:23 Is this a legitimate question?  What is the answer?
21:24 Is Jesus engaging in a tit for tat?
21:25-27 It seems the chief priests and elders choose to not speak the truth but the most politically advantageous answer. Does this behavior remind you of any person or persons in our day?
21:27 Did the chief priests and elders really know but were not willing to answer, or did they really not know? What is the difference between not knowing the truth and not speaking the truth?
21:28-32 Whom is Jesus addressing? How does this parable logically follow from what precedes it?
21:28 What is the symbolism of the vineyard? Whom might the two sons represent?
21:31 TouchĂ©!  Maybe the tax collectors and prostitutes will go into the kingdom ahead of the chief priests and elders, but perhaps the elders and chief priests will still go in. Is this another reversal parable, similar to the Gospel Reading from last week?
21:32 And the lesson is?

ADDENDUM

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, September 21, 2014, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.

16:2 Why mighty Pastor’s sometimes feel like Moses and Aaron?  How do we complain and what do we complain about?
16:3 What is a “fleshpot”? Why would the Israelites have preferred to die in slavery in Egypt rather than in freedom in the wilderness?
16:4 How is God sending bread to a hungry people a test?  What exactly and specifically are God’s instructions?
16:5 Why is twice as much provided and gathered on the sixth day?
16:6 What is so special about the evening?
16:7 How will the people see the glory of the Lord in the morning? What is “the glory of the Lord”? What are Moses and Aaron?
16:8 The Lord has promised bread but not said anything about meat. Is this verse an expanded reiteration of the verse preceding it?
16:9 What does it mean to draw near to the Lord?
16:10 If the people were already in the wilderness, how could they look “toward” the wilderness?  What and where is our wilderness?
16:11 This has to be one of the shortest verses in the Hebrew Scriptures.
16:12 How shall eating meat and bread convince people that the Lord is their God? Where is the meat coming from?
16:13 Here comes the aforementioned meat. Have you ever eaten a quail?  I have.  Quail is  delicious but not very satisfying if you are particularly hungry.
16:14 What is this fine flakey substance called?
16:15 How can a fine flaky substance be considered bread?

105:1 What is the LORD’s name?  How can one call on the LORD’s name when one is not permitted to pronounce the LORD’s name? What are the LORD’s deeds? Who are the “peoples”?
105:1-2 What are the LORD’s wonderful works? Are the wonderful works the same as the deeds?
105:3 How do we glory in God’s name?
105:4 Is the LORD’s strength the same as the Lord’s presence?  Does presence bring strength?
105:5 This is the second time wonderful works are mentioned.  Are the wonderful works the same as miracles and judgments?  Is this just a feature of Hebrew poetry or is something else going here.
105:6 Why are offspring always the offspring of only men? The Hebrew Scriptures often mentioned the descendants of Avraham and Jacob, skipping over Isaac. Why?
105:37 What does the silver and gold refer to?
105:38 If Egypt was glad, why did the Egyptian army pursue the fleeing Israelites?
105:39 So the cloud was not only a sign of God’s presence but also camouflage for the Israelites?
105:40 Did the people ask or complain?
105:41 What does this verse reference?
105:42 What was the holy promise? Could the LORD possibly forget that promise?
105:43 Can we had complaining and grumbling to joy and singing?
105:44 So the LORD’s people were given what was not theirs?
105:45 Had the LORD bribed the peoples?

1:21 How can dying be gain?
1:22 What does Paul mean by flesh?
1:23 What preferences is Paul internally debating?
1:24 Whose remaining in the flesh, Paul’s or the Philippians’?
1:25 What is Paul convinced of?
1:26 Were the Philippians boasting?
1:27 What is a life worthy of the gospel? How does one stand firm? What does Paul mean by one spirit?
1:28 Who were the opponents? What evidence is Paul referring to?
1:29 Does believing always go hand in hand with suffering?
1:30 What struggle did the Philippians and Paul share?

20:1 This is a kingdom parable.
20:2 What is the usually daily wage?
20:3 Why were these others standing idle in the marketplace?
20:4 What wage would be right?
2o:5-7 It seems the landowner goes out about every two or three hours. Why were these people not around earlier in the day?
20:8 Who is the landowner and who is the manager? The last shall be first and the first last – this is the only way this parable works. Where else in the Gospels can we find this sort of reversal?
20:9 Why did those who worked only a few hours receive the usual daily wage?
20:10 Why did those hired earlier and who worked longer expect to be paid more than the usual daily wage?
20:11 Where else in today’s Readings have we heard about grumbling?
20:12 I can sympathize with the sentiment.
20:13 This is true but it still seems unfair.
20:14 Why did the landowner choose to do this?
20:15 Are these more than rhetorical questions?
20:16 What is the meaning of this?

ADDENDUM

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, September 14, 2014, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.

14:19 Are the “angel of God” and the “pillar of cloud” one and the same or are they different manifestations of the same reality?
14:20 What is the meaning of “army”?  How could fleeing slaves have an army in the military sense of the word?  How could the cloud light up the night?  What did not come near the other?
14:21 How might we variously understand the action of Moses stretching his hand over the sea?  What, if any, is the significance of the wind? If God was acting here, why did Moses need to do anything? Might the causeway at Lindisfarne, off the eastern coast of England, in any way help us envision how God might have been working here?
14:22 How might we variously understand “wall”?
14:23 Why do chariot drivers driving chariots not like mud?
14:24 When is the morning watch? Why did the Egyptian army panic? Are the pillar of fire and pillar of could one and the same?
14:25 Why did Captain Kirk, in a damaged Enterprise, enter a nebula when Kahn, in a perfectly functioning starship, sought to engage him in battle?
14:26 What is it about the hand off Moses? Why does God need to work through the hand of Moses?
14:27 When did the water’s part and when did the water’s return?  How might we variously understand “tossed”?
14:28 Does this verse conflict with the one before it?
14:29 Is this merely a restatement of 14:22?
14:30 How did the Egyptians end of on the seashore?
14:31 If it was the LORD that saved Israel, why did Israel “fear” the LORD and believe in Moses as well as in the LORD?

114:1 When did Israel go out from Egypt? Why do we have a comment about strange language?
114:2 Are the references to “Judah” and “Israel” a references to places, a people, or both?
114:3 Does this verse conflate two events? What does “Jordan turned back” mean?
114:4 How do mountains and hills “skip”?
114:5-6 Why are bodies of waters being compared, or poetically paired, to mountains and hills?
114:7 Is this a reference to the God of the earthquake?
114:8 When did God turn rock into a pool of water and flint into a spring of water?

15:1b Yes, there are other psalms or songs in the Bible other than in the Book of Psalms.  Who first sang this one?  This is an alternative to Psalm 114.  Which of the two, if either, will you use, and why?  How are they different and how are they similar?
15:2 This sounds like a statement of faith.
15:3 Must we maintain this militaristic image of God?
15:6 What is the significance of the LORD’s “right hand”?
15:8 God has nostrils?  The parting of the waters was the result of God sneezing?
15:11 And the answer to the questions asked in this verse is? Who or what are the “gods”?
15:20 Miriam was a prophet?  Why is she identified as Aaron’s sister rather than as the sister of both Aaron and Moses?  When was the last time you heard a tambourine played in a service of worship? When was the last time you saw dancing or yourself danced in a service of worship? The last line sounds like a refrain; a restatement of 15:1b.

14:1 What does it mean to be “weak in faith”? Who were/are the weak in faith and how can they be welcomed?
14:2 Are vegetarians weak?
14:3 Is Paul writing about only diets?
14:4 Who are “servants of another” and who is the “another”? How does this passage inform Church discipline?
14:5 Is Paul talking about the Sabbath and/or the Lord’s Day (Saturday and Sunday), or what?
14:6 Is Paul writing about fasting? Do you know the meaning of the word “adiaphora”, especially as Calvin used it?
14:7-9 These verses are often used as part of the liturgy for Witness to the Resurrection and I myself have spoken these words numerous times graveside.  What do they have to do, however, with what precedes or follows?
14:10 I think this is more than a rhetorical question.
14:11 Where is this written? What does this have to do with the topic at hand?

18:21 Why might the word “church” seem out of place here?  How might we account for it being used here?  Is there anything special about the number “seven” in this context? Do you think Peter was really looking for an answer or for justification of his own views and practice?
18:22 Is there anything special about “seventy-seven”?  Are there parallels to this passage in the other Gospels, and if so, how do they agree and disagree?
18:23-35 Is this a “Kingdom Parable”? Is this passage is not about wealth then what is it about?
18:24 What is the current value of ten thousand talents?
18:28 What is the current value of a hundred denarii?
18:34 How can the master hold his slave accountable for a debt he has already forgiven?
18:35 Is this a threat?  Does this verse suggest that forgiveness, even salvation, is revocable? Will God hand the unforgiving over to be tortured?

ADDENDUM
I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Churchof Cadiz, worshipping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM.