Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for The 4th Sunday of Advent (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
Be aware that the PC(USA) Presbyterian Planning Calendar lists the Lectionary Readings for Christmas Eve on the December 24th calendar block rather than the Lectionary Readings for the 4th Sunday of Advent, or both sets of readings.

Apparently there is some discussion going around about some congregations offering only one service on December 24th, a Christmas Eve Service. I serve half-time as the Interim Pastor of a small congregation of less than fifty members with an average of 20 in worship. We normally have only one Sunday service and one Christmas Eve Service but on Sunday, December 24th, 2017, we will be offering two services on December 24th. The first service will be our usual 11:00 AM Service of the Lord’s Day which will focus on the Lectionary Readings for the 4th Sunday of Advent. Our second service will be a 7:00 PM Christmas Eve Candlelight Service of Nine Lessons and Carols which will focus on celebrating the birth of Christ.

What are you and your congregation scheduling for December 24th?

2 SAMUEL 7:1-11, 16
7:1 What king are we talking about?
7:2 David seems to be speaking to Nathan as God might. Who was Nathan? What does the “ark of God” represent?
7:3 What did David have in mind? How did Nathan know this?
7:4 What carries more authority, the word of the king or the word of the LORD? Why did the word of the LORD come to Nathan at night?
7:5 Why the question?
7:6 What seems to be at stake here? What is the difference, if any, between a tent and a tabernacle?
7:7 Why is God asking questions? Are these rhetorical questions?
7:8-9 Why the history lesson?
7:10 Has this not already been accomplished?
7:11 The first part of this verse seems misplaced. Note the play on the word “house.”
7:16 Was this fulfilled?

Luke 1:46b-55
This Canticle was an Alternate Reading last week, the 3rd Sunday of Advent. This week, the 4th Sunday of Advent, it is the Primary Reading and the Psalm is the Alternate. I think the Magnificat works better this week than last. You may want to compare this Canticle to Hanna’s song in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
1:46b Who is speaking? When, if ever, has your soul magnified the Lord? See #600 in The Presbyterian Hymnal and #99 and #646 in Glory to God: Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Songs.
1:47 When did your spirit last rejoice?
1:48 What does it mean to be called blessed?
1:49 Here is an alternative way to address and speak of God.
1:50 What does it mean to fear God? Why am I thinking of Edwin H. Friedman?
1:51 What does it mean for the proud to be scattered in the thoughts of their hearts? Since when did hearts think?
1:52-53 These verses all address a reversal, something that has already been accomplished, not something yet to come.
1:54 How has God helped Israel?
1:55 Once again Sarah is overlooked, yet without her Abraham would not have had any descendants.

PSALM 89:1-4, 19-26
89:1 How can the Psalmist, or anyone, sing forever and proclaim anything to generations?  Is this nothing more than poetic hyperbole?
89:2 How firm are the heavens?
89:3-4 Apparently an allusion to the First Reading.  Does this verse justify the Lectionary pairing this Psalm with the First Reading?  This Psalm is actually an alternate. Another possibility is the Magnificat, Luke 1:46b-55.  What is this verse quoting?
89:19 Who is the faithful one? Note that the rest of the reading is a narration of the vision.
89:20 What makes oil holy?
89:21 Must we anthropomorphize God?
89:22 Are enemies, by definition, wicked?
89:23 Do all foes hate their enemy?
89:24 What is a “horn?”
89:26 So David is the Son of God?

ROMANS 16:25-27
16:25 What does Paul mean by “my gospel?”  What is the mystery that has been revealed?
16:26 What does Paul mean by “prophetic writings?”
16:27 Here is a nice ascription of praise that could be used liturgically.

LUKE 1:26-38
1:26 In the sixth month of what? Why Gabriel? Why Nazareth?
1:27 Why a virgin? How can we read this verse with 21st century sensibilities without reading our prejudices back into the text? Why the house of David?
1:28 What does Gabriel mean by addressing Mary as “favored one?”
1:29 Apparently Mary did not know what Gabriel meant. When was the last time you were perplexed by a greeting and pondered what it meant?
1:30 I think the phrase “Do not be afraid” is the crux of this text. Why might Mary have been afraid? Have you found favor with God?
1:31 Note that Mary “will” conceive.  She apparently was not yet pregnant. Why name him Jesus?
1:32-33 This is quite a prophecy!
1:34 A good question.
1:35 Is there a difference between being called “Son of God” and actually being the Son of God? What if Mary have proclaimed #metoo?
1:36 Apparently Elizabeth was between the second and third trimester. The way she is described reminds me of Sarah. How were Mary and Elizabeth related?
1:37 Could this be the key verse of the passage rather than 1:30?
1:38 Where have we heard “Here am I” before?  What if Mary had not let it be according to Gabriel’s word?

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.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 3rd Sunday of Advent (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 61:1-4, 8-11
61:1 What does it feel like to have the spirit of the LORD upon oneself?  What else can one be anointed with in addition to the spirit and oil?
61:2 What is “the year of the Lord’s favor” and “the day of vengeance of our God” and how can they be mentioned in the same sentence?
61:3 What is a garland? What is oil of gladness? What is so special about oaks?
61:4 What other ancient ruins come to your mind in addition to Jerusalem?  Iona?  Lindesfarne?
61:8 Has the identity of the speak just shifted? Does justice involve more than just hating robbery and wrongdoing? Who are “them?”
61:9 What does it mean for a people to be blessed by the LORD?
61:10 Has the identity of the speaker again shifted? What does it feel like for one’s whole being to exalt in God?  God has clothed us with a tux and gown?
61:11 Do righteousness and praise just appear or do they grow and blossom?

PSALM 126
126:1 In other words, we thought it not possible?  Note that this is in the past tense. When did the Lord restore the fortunes of Zion?
126:2 Why laughter? Shall we read this verse as a commentary on Isaiah 61:9?
126:3 What great things has the Lord done for us?
126:4 What is so special about the watercourses in the Negeb? What and where is the Negeb?
126:5-6 These verses, like Advent, proclaim a reversal of the status quo.
126:6 Shall we read this verse as a commentary on Isaiah 61:11?

LUKE 1:46b-55
This canticle is an alternative to the Psalm. How will you decide which one to use?
1:46b Who is speaking? When, if ever, has your soul magnified the Lord? See #600 in The Presbyterian Hymnal and #99 and #646 in Glory to God: Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Songs.
1:47 When did your spirit last rejoice?
1:48 What does it mean to be called blessed?
1:49 Here is an alternative way to address and speak of God.
1:50 What does it mean to fear God? Why am I thinking of Edwin H. Friedman?
1:51 What does it mean for the proud to be scattered in the thoughts of their hearts? Since when did hearts think?
1:52-53 These verses all address a reversal, something that has already been accomplished, not something yet to come.
1:54 How has God helped Israel?
1:55 Once again Sarah is overlooked, yet without her Abraham would not have had any descendants.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-24
5:16 This is good advice. Is this the second shortest verse in the Bible?
5:17 More good advice. What does it mean to “pray without ceasing”? What do you know about contemplative prayer and contemplative living?
5:18 I find giving thanks in all circumstances harder than praying without ceasing or always rejoicing. I have been in some circumstances where I would have had great difficulty giving thanks.
5:19 Oh, how many ways we quench the Spirit. Let me count the ways.
5:20 How do we despise the words of prophets? What prophets are being referred to? Who are today’s prophets whose words are being despised?
5:21 How do we “test” anything, let alone everything? Does this verse address the spiritual discipline of discernment? Does this verse support the mission of Consumer Reports or the Underwriters Laboratory and similar organizations and institutions? How do we hold fast to what is good? What is good?
5:22 How many forms of evil are there?
5:23 Note the tripartite “spirit and soul and body.”  What is the difference between spirit and soul?  I would feel more comfortable with “mind, body and spirit”. I think I have never heard this used as a benediction or blessing but I like it.
5:24 Who is it that calls? What does it mean to be called?

JOHN 1:6-8, 19-28
1:6 Are some “sent” and others not? What is the difference between “sent” in this verse and the “calls” of 1 Thessalonians 5:24?
1:7 “Witness” and “testify” are not usually part of the mainline and Presbyterian vocabulary.  Do they make you feel uncomfortable? How much do we hear them as legal terms and how much do we hear them as religious terms?
1:8 Was someone saying John was the light?
1:19 In this context, who or what is a Levite? It seems that John’s testimony was given in the context of him being questioned or examined. Was John on trial?
1:20 “Confessed” is an interesting choice of words.  John says, “I am not” while Jesus will say, at least seven times, “I am”! Were some hoping, even saying, that John was the Messiah? Is the gospel writer attempting to knock John the Baptizer down a notch or two?
1:21 People thought John was Elijah or Kahlil Gibran? Is this and the preceding verses more a commentary on John the baptizer or more of a commentary on the zeitgeist?
1:22 Why is John’s identity so important?
1:23 Are these John the Baptizer’s words or John the Evangelist’s words?
1:24-25 In verse 19 it was Jews sent by priests and Levites. Now it is those sent by the Pharisees. What is the connection between the Pharisees and baptism?
1:25 Is the presumption that it would have been alright for the Messiah, Elijah, or the prophet to baptize?
1:26 What did John mean by “Among you stands?”
1:27 Is there anything significant or symbolic about untying sandals?
1:28 What difference does it make where this took place?
                                                                  
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. Some of my other blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and The Trek.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 2nd Sunday of Advent (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 40:1-11
40:1 Perhaps this all too familiar passage reminds us that Advent is a season for the preacher to comfort, while Lent is a season for the preacher to afflict.
40:2 This sounds somewhat like legal language but good news none the less. What does it mean to speak tenderly?
40:3 Whose voice is crying out? What wilderness might Isaiah have in mind?
40:3-4 Having grown up and spent most of my life in the mountains of West Virginia, I resonate with the imagery of straight highways.  On the other hand, I fear someone might want to relate the “every mountain and hill shall be made low” and language following to the ecologically devastating practice of Mountain Top Removal Mining.
40:5 Who or what is the mouth of the Lord?
40:6-7 How do these verses fit in here? Has a new thought begun?
40:8 What does Isaiah mean by “the word of our God?”
40:9 How can the prophet get up to a high mountain if all the mountains will be made low? Where is God?
40:10 Is this militaristic imagery and language?
40:11This language and imagery seems antithetical to the previous verse but reminiscent of the reading from Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 two Sunday’s ago on Christ the King / Reign of Christ.  Who is the mother sheep?

PSALM 85:1-2, 8-13
85:1 Does this verse assume a theology of the land?
85:2 How do you and your church deal with “Selah?”
85:1-2 Compare these verses with Isaiah 40:1-2.
85:8 Does God speak peace only to God’s people?
85:8-9 What about people who do not turn to God in their hearts and who do not fear God?  What does it mean to fear God? What does it mean to turn to God in your heart?
85:10-11 I like this imagery! The structure appears to be poetic.
85:12 Once again, I wonder if this verse and the entire Psalm assumes a theology of the land?  What is the connection between God and the land, the land and God?  Does this feed into the Arthurian legend and the Fisher King?
85:13 Is this a personification of righteousness?

2 PETER 3:8-15a
3:8 I do not know where it originated, but there is a joke that goes something like this.  A person asks God if it is true that one day to God is like a thousand years. God answers “yes.”  They then ask God if it is true that God will give them whatever they ask for. God again answers “yes.” The person finally asks God for a million dollars. God replies, “OK, I’ll do it tomorrow.” On the other hand I have often heard this verse used to reconcile the six day story of creation with evolution as if that solves all the apparent problems.
3:9 God’s apparent slowness is really a manifestation of God’s patience.
3:10 Of all the images that one could employ, why employ the imagery of a thief?   What does the author mean by “the heavens”, “elements”, and “the earth?” Will what is done on the earth not be disclosed until the day of the Lord?
3:11-12 Shall we refer to this as the “Big Dissolution Theory?”  How do we reconcile this imagery with contemporary cosmology that posits an expanding universe expanding at an increasing rate and which may expand indefinitely? What is this verse asking?
3:13 Note that this is a “promise” and not a threat. Where else can we find “new heavens and a new earth” language? I am reminded of C. S. Lewis’ image of a new heaven and a new earth in the final installment of The Chronicles of Narnia.
3:14 What might be a spot or blemish?
3:15a Once again, what appears to be the Lord’s tardiness is actually our salvation.

Mark 1:1-8
1:1 For a minute, there, I thought I was reading the incipit of Genesis. Exactly what is “the beginning of the good news?”
1:2-3 Déjà vu! Why does Mark quote Isaiah 40:3?
1:4 Never having been a Baptist, I much prefer the NRSV “John the baptizer” rather than the more familiar “John the Baptist”. What about you? How did John’s baptism differ from the baptism of the early church?
1:5 I think there is some hyperbole here. Nevertheless, John is portrayed as a popular guy.
1:6 Has anyone else ever heard the explanation that “locusts” is not a reference to insects but to a nutty substance from a tree native to Palestine? What purpose might it serve to describe John this way?
1:7-8 What power did John have?  How could John have known all of this?
1:8 What is the difference between baptism with water and baptism with the Holy Spirit?
                                                                  
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. Some of my other blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and The Trek.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

#OptOutside #Cycling @RailstoTrails #REIEmployee

This is the third year running that Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) closed its stores on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, encouraging its employees, members, customers, and others to #OptOutside with friends and family rather than spending the day in retail stores  shopping for bargains. What started as a moment in 2015 has become a movement as more and more retailers, especially those in the outdoor industry, have joined the #OptOutside movement by encouraging outdoor loving folk to post photos of their Black Friday outdoor activities on social media. When #OptOutside participants did so, using additional hashtags, they qualified to possibly win prizes from various retailers and organizations and to have their photos and videos featured on various web sites.

Three years ago I though REI's #OptOutside decision was a bold move and I participated by going hiking the day after Thanksgiving. Now that I am a part-time REI employee, I REALLY appreciate #OptOutside because I not only have the day off to enjoy the great outdoors but also get paid for it.

My only #OptOutside quandary was to decide what outdoor activity I would engage in and where. Would I kayak at Cross Creek County Park in Washington County, Pennsylvania, paddling my Zydeco 9.0 of Necky Chatam 17 on Cross Creek Lake? Would I slip into my Merrill Wilderness hiking boots and throw a day pack on my back to meander along any number of the trails at Western Pennsylvania’s Raccoon Creek State Park?

Rather than hiking or kayaking I opted, instead, to cycle my Trek 8.3 DS Hybrid over twenty five
At the beginning of my 25.2 mile
#OptOutside #Cycling  @railstotrails ride
miles along two of my go to rail trails, the Brooke Pioneer Trail in West Virginia’s Brooke County and the Wheeling Heritage Trail in West Virginia’s Ohio County. Though two separate trails, they meet at the Brooke County – Ohio County line, offering over 20 miles of paved rail trail.

I hit the trail around 1:30 in the afternoon. The sky was a cloudless azure. The sun shining blazed through mostly leafless trees. The temperature was slightly above 50°. In other words, the weather was nearly perfect for a fall ride.

Yes, it was that windy
At first I seemed to be dragging ass, which I attributed to the previous day’s Thanksgiving dinner and not having been on my bike for ten days. Rather than cycling at my usual 12-15 mph pace I was struggling to maintain an 8-12 mph pace. As soon as I saw the flags at Pike Island Dam, however, I knew it wasn’t my lack or recent cycling activity or the previous day’s turkey with all the fixings that was slowing me down. It was the steady northerly wind blowing up the Ohio River valley.

After a little over twelve and a half miles I stopped for a break. Sitting on a bench beside the trail and overlooking the Ohio River, I watched a coal barge slower plod north as I basked in the warming sun and felt the breeze brush across my face. I was glad to be enjoying the outside rather than shopping in some mall or retailer, or sitting in front of a big screen television watching football.

As soon as I climbed back on my bike and started cycling north I felt like the peddling was easier. I looked down at my speedometer/odometer and saw that I was easily maintaining my usual 12-15 mph pace. As soon as warmed back up, cleared the wind break of nearby trees, and was out in the open, my pace picked up to 17-18 mph thanks to the tail wind. My return ride northward was easier and quicker than the ride southward.

I saw perhaps a dozen other cyclists during my afternoon ride though I might have counted some riders twice.  All but one other rider were heading in the opposite direction. I passed no one and only one rider passed me in the same direction. One cyclist was even wearing short sleeves and shorts! I was wearing my cycling shorts but was also wearing riding tights over them. I was also wearing a lightweight SmartWool toboggan under my helmet, a neck warmer, a cycling jacket over a long sleeved cycling jersey, and long fingered riding gloves. I was warm, but not toasty or overheating.

As other cyclists and I passed, I wondered how many of them were also posting their #OptOutside #cycling selfies on social media.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 1st Sunday of Advent (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:
A little over three years ago I had just finished reading Lowry’s Living with the Lectionary (1992, Abingdon Press) and found this passage warning about quick fix lectionary aids insightful. “The problem is that lectionary preachers often turn to these helpful aids prior to having internalized the texts. When I have inquired of lectionary preachers, how they prepare—the sequence of their work—I find a trend. Often they read the text and immediately turn to the published lectionary commentaries.  They may receive good advice, but altogether prematurely. In short, at the point in sermon preparation when they ought to be internalizing the text and exploring the many questions which might emerge, they are already finding answers to the questions they have not yet raised. The result is a homiletical preparation short-circuit.” (p. 25)

I think Lowry’s warning is reflected in the way I prepare Lectionary Ruminations 2.5. I first read the text and then consider what questions I have or think it is important to ask of the text, perhaps make a few observations and opine about the text, but I DO NOT CONSULT ANY LECTIONARY AIDS as I write. Similarly, I think it would behoove readers of Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 to first read the text and consider what questions they ought to be asking and what questions the text asks of them before reading Lectionary Ruminations 2.5.

This First Sunday of Advent begins the new liturgical year, Year B, the year of Mark. A Reading from Mark, therefore, serves as the Gospel Reading after nearly a year’s worth of Gospel Readings from Matthew.

If you will be using the PCUSA resource GLORY TO GOD: Hymns and Songs for Advent and Christmas over the next several weeks, you might find this Alphabetical Index of Hymns helpful.

ISAIAH 64:1-9
64:1 Must God tear the heavens open to come down? Is God tearing open the heavens anything like a rip in the fabric of space time?
64:2 Who are God’s adversaries
64:3 What awesome deeds does Isaiah have in mind? Is this a reference to the giving of the theophany on Mt. Sinai?
64:4 What does it mean to wait for God?
64:5 Did God hide because the people transgressed or did the people transgress because God hid?
64:6 How can righteous deeds become like a filthy cloth? This reads like a communal confession of sin.
64:7 What does it mean that God has hidden the divine face?
64:8 Why the change of metaphors from storm and fire to potter and clay?
63:9 Please God, be just a little angry and remember our iniquity for just a little while.

PSALM 80:1-7, 17-19
80:1 The verse follows nicely upon the heels of last week’s First Reading. What are cherubim and where are?
80:2 Who or what are Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh? What does it mean for God to stir up the divine might?
80:3 What is the shining face of God or what does it represent or symbolize?
80:4 Is there a difference between being angry with the people and being angry with their prayers?
80:5 This sounds like anti-Eucharistic language.
80:6 Is this an appeal to God’s pride?
80:7 What does God’s shining face represent or symbolize?
80:17 Whom is the Psalmist talking about?
80:18 Is the Psalmist bargaining with God, offer a quid pro quo?
80:19 A repeat of 80:7, suggesting this is a liturgical response.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:3-9
1:3 Is there anything unique about “Grace to you and peace?”
1:4 Why “my” God and not “our” God?
1:5 How are we enriched in speech and knowledge?
1:6 What is “the testimony of Christ?”
1:7 What spiritual gift might we be lacking in? What does it mean for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed?
1:8 What is “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ?”
1:9 What is “the fellowship of his Son?” Is that something like Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring?

Mark 13:24-37
13:24 In what days? So the sun and moon will no longer give light AFTER suffering? Is this something other than total solar eclipse?
13:25 Do you think the writer was referring to meteors rather than stars? What powers are in the heavens?
13:24-25 If something is being quoted, what?
13:26 Who and/or what is “the Son of Man”? Why does the Son of Man come in clouds? How shall we interpret this, literally or metaphorically?
13:27 Where are the Son of Man’s angels? Does “the four winds” refer to the four cardinal directions?
13:28 How you ever lived around fig trees? What about the parable of the fig tree?
13:29 What things? What gate?
13:30 How do we reconcile this verse with the fact that we are still reading it and waiting nearly two-thousand years later?
13:31 How will heaven and earth pass away but not words? What words?
13:32 So why all the talk about the lesson of the fig tree if no one knows the day or hour?
13:33 In other words, pack your Christian “go bag” and make sure there is gas in the car, milk in the fridge, bread in the bread box, and Charmin in the bathroom.
13:34 Is this a parable? I am being reminded of a couple of parables in Matthew.
13:35 I would rather my master return than a thief come. Is keeping alert in 13: 33 the same as keeping awake in this verse?
13:36 Are we all expected to be doorkeepers? Does “sleep” refer to slumber or death?
13:37 What does it mean to “Keep awake??
                                                                  
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. Some of my other blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and The Trek.