Monday, November 24, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, November 30, 2014, the First Sunday of Advent (Year B)

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:
I recently got around to reading Eugene L. 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.o. 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.o 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.o.

64:1 Must God tear the heavens open to come down?
64:2 Who are God’s adversaries
64:3 What awesome deeds does Isaiah have in mind?
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?
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.

80:1 The verse follows nicely upon the heels of last week’s First Reading
80:2 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 a liturgical response.

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”? Is that something like Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring?

13:24 In what days? So the sun and moon will no longer give light AFTER suffering?
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?
13:27 Whar 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?
13:29 What things?
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 know the day or hour?
13:33 In other words, pack your Christian “go bag” and make sure there is gas in the car.
13:34 Is this a parable?
13:35I would rather my master return than a thief come.
13:36 Are we all expected to be doorkeepers?
13:37 What does it mean to “Keep awake:?

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, November 17, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, November 23, 2014, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (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 is the last Sunday in Liturgical Year A. Next Sunday, November 30, the 1st Sunday in Advent, begins Liturgical Year B.

34:11 How did God lose these sheep in the first place? Why might God be doing the searching rather than entrusting the searching to a representative?
34:12 Why do sheep scatter and why do shepherds allow them to scatter?
34:13 How can one not read this and be a Zionist?
34:14-15 Why am I thinking of Psalm 23?
34:16 What is the difference between the lost and the strayed? Does it seem that God will search out and rescue the 99% while punishing the 1%?
34:20 I think it is time for me to eat less, exercise more, and drop a few pounds.
34:21 To whom is this addressed?
34:22 Note that God will judge between sheep and sheep, not sheep and goats.
34:23-24 David, King of the 99%!

100:1 Is “all the earth” a poetic reference to all people or and invitation to rocks and trees as well?
100:2 If we are to worship God with gladness, why do so many worship services feel like a funeral and so many worshipers act like they are mourners?
100:3 How many people in the pew understand the nuance of “LORD” and “God”? Does this verse justify this Psalm being paired with the Ezekiel Reading?  What and where is the LORD’s pasture?
100:4 To what does gates refer, the gates og the temple, the gates of the city, or something else? To what does courts refer?
100:5 Is it redundant to say his steadfast love endures forever? What does it mean for the LORD to be faithful?

1:15 How might Paul have heard of the Ephesians faith and love? Who are the saints?
1:16 I would love to hear Paul praying.
1:17 What is “a spirit of wisdom and revelation”?
1:18-19 I love the phrases “the riches of his glorious inheritance” and “the immeasurable greatness of his power”.
1:20Is this a reference to the Resurrection as well as the Ascension?
1:21 Yes, this Sunday is Christ the King.
1:22 What does “for the church” mean?
1:23 What does “fills all in all” mean?

25:31 Who is speaking? How much do we need to know about the theologically loaded title “Son of Man” to responsibly interpret this passage?  Does the mention of a throne justify this being the Gospel Reading for Christ the King?
25:32-33 The Gospel’s “sheep and goats” juxtaposed with the “sheep and sheep” of the Ezekiel Reading seems to offer us a mixed or confused, metaphor.
25:33 Is this an example of right-handed prejudice?
25:34 Is the king the same as the Son of Man?
25:37 What does it mean to be righteous?
25:41 The devil has angels?
25:35-45 How do members of the Tea Party and the 1% read these verses?
25:46 Must there be eternal punishment?

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, November 10, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, November 16, 2014, the Thirty-Third 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.

4:1 Here we go again.  This is beginning to remind me of déjà vu all over again. How many times did the Israelites do what was evil in the sight of the LORD?  How many times do we?
4:2 Do the names of rulers, commanders, and place names add or detract from the narrative?
4:3 This is beginning to sound like a broken record.  How many times do we cry out to the LORD, asking the LORD to get us out of trouble we have gotten ourselves into?
4:4 What blasphemy, a female prophet!  With regard to male prophets, how often are we told who their wife was?
4:5 Do you think the Palm of Deborah was known by that name in Deborah’s day? Too bad it was not a Bodhi tree.
4:6 How dare Deborah speak for God! I wonder why Barak.
4:7 What is a Wadi and why does it matter?

123:1 I thought God was enthroned on the cherubim.  Are the cherubim in heaven or in the Temple?
123:2 So God is a master and maid while we are servants and mistresses.  While the Israelites in the Judges passage cry to the LORD, the psalmist simply looks to the LORD.  Maybe those eyes were sad, droopy puppy dog eyes that the LORD simply could not resist.
123:3 To what contempt is the Psalmist referring?
123:4 To what scorn is the Psalmist referring? Are contempt and scorn synonymous?

5:1 What times and seasons? If nothing needs to be written to the Thessalonians about times and seasons then why does Paul bring it up?
5:2 Is this an example of chiastic structure:  “day lord / thief night”? What does Paul mean by “day of the Lord”?
5:3 Since I am of the male persuasion, I chose not to comment on this verse.  If there is anyone of the female persuasion out there who would like to comment, please do so.
5:4-5 There is a lot of “light” and “darkness” to keep track of in these verses. Beware of racial stereotypes. Can the Dead Sea scrolls help us put this passage into context?
5:6 Since the overriding metaphor is staying awake, why does Paul add “sober”?
5:7 What point is Paul trying to make?
5:8 Does the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of salvation, change the metaphor?  Note that a breastplate and a helmet are entirely defensive rather than offensive. Have you ever heard of a type of prayer known in the Celtic tradition as a Lorica?
5:9 Why do my Reformed/Presbyterian ears perk up when I hear this verse?
5:10 Is Paul confusing his “sleep” metaphor and using it to mean more than one thing?
5:11 In other words, keep on keeping on.

25:14 “It is as if” make this what, q parable? Why do I have a problem with slave language?
25:15 What is a talent?  Ability to do what?
25:16 This slave ahould have been a stock broker or banker.
25:17 A 100% return! Not bad.
25:18 What were the abilities of the first and second slaves?  What was the ability of the third slave? Had the man going on a journey misjudged the abilities of his slaves?
25:19 What is a long time and does it matter?
25:21, 23 What does it mean to enter into the joy of a master?
25:24 Maybe the third slave said too much in addition to not doubling the talent.
25:25 How do we sometimes allow fear to cripple us?
25:26 Was the slave really wicked and lazy or just overly careful?
25:27 If we take this too literally, it begins to break down and seems illogical. After all, the man could have invested his money with bankers to begin with rather than entrusting it to his slaves.
25:28-29 Does the growing disparity between the rich and the poor impact how we might read and interpret these verses?
25:30 Have we heard anything like this before? Where?

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. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, November 9, 2014, the Thirty-Second 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.

24:1 What do you know about  Shechem? The listing of “elders, heads, judges, and the officers” suggests a rather organized society, just forty years after the Exodus.
24:2 Why does Joshua point back one generation to Terah rather than to Abraham?
24:3a Why isn’t Sarah mentioned?
24:14 What is this talk about putting away other gods all about? What other God were the people worshiping?
24:15 Joshua presents three choices: Serve the gods ancestors worshiped before God called Abraham, serve the local gods of the Amorites, or serve the LORD. What choices are the people presented with today?
24:14-18 Are these verses about monotheism, or about recognizing that of all the gods, only one, the LORD, is the one who has saved us?
24:19 “You cannot serve the LORD”? What is Joshua doing here?
24:20 The LORD sounds like a jealous God.
24:21 Is this a confession of faith?
24:22 What does it mean, in this context, to be a witness?
24:23 Did the people actually have statues of foreign gods, or is this a metaphorical “put away”?
24:24 Is this also a confession of faith?
24:25 Is this a third covenant? What statutes and ordinances are being referred to?

78:1 Who is the speaking?
78:2 Apparently Jesus was not the only person in the Bible to speak in parables. What are “dark sayings from of old”?
78:3 This sounds like a reference to the oral tradition.
78:4 Why might you want to hide dark sayings from children? What are the Lord’s glorious deeds and wonders?
78:5 Is the speaker not a child of his/her ancestors?
78:6 This is really thinking far ahead, to future generations.
78:7 What is the relation between works and commandments?
78:1-7 This Psalm reads like a call to educational ministry and mission.  What would this psalmist say about the state of Biblical literacy, or lack of, in today’s church?

1:13 How might we be uninformed?
1:14 What does Paul mean “God will bring with him”?
1:15 What is this all about?
1:16-17 Does this presuppose a pre-Copernican three tiered universe?  How do we translate this into modern cosmological terms?
1:18 How are these words encouraging?  See item #16 on page 914 in the PC(USA) Book of Common Worship.  See also page 949.

25:1 Is this a kingdom parable? Is there anything special about the number ten? Is there anything special about bridesmaids?
25:2 Why five foolish and five wise?
25:3-4 Does the oil represent anything or is this just about being prepared?
25:5 What is this about “delay”?  Note that both the wise and the foolish become drowsy and fall asleep. Was “delay” the real issue?
25:6 Why midnight?  Who shouted?
25:7 Why trim a lamp?
25:9 Were the wise being selfish? Why not share lamps?
25:10 I wonder how much oil the wise had brought with them. I wonder how long their oil would have lasted.
25:12 This sounds curt.
25:13 This point does not fit.  Based on what precedes, the point ought to have been “Be prepared.  Keep a supply of oil.”  Otherwise, the wise bridesmaids should not have slept while the foolish bridesmaids did sleep.

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 27, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, November 2, 2014, the Thirty-First 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.

3:7 Moses’ body is barely cold in the grave and God is already promoting Joshua. How might we apply this to pastoral transitions?
3:8 Indiana Jones, where are you? Why should Joshua stand still in the Jordan?
3:9 How might this verse be used liturgically?
3:10 By “this” refers to what? Joshua seems to tell the people something a little different than what God told him. Who will do the driving out?
3:11 “the LORD of all the earth” is an interesting phrase.  What about “heaven”? Listen for a refrain in verse 13. It sounds like the ark will lead the way and the people will follow.
3:12 I wonder how these men were selected. Why were only men selected?
3:13 How will this be different than the parting of the sea?
3:14-17 Is the Ark taking the place of Moses’ rod?  Is the purpose of this narrative to establish Joshua being equal to Moses? How could the people cross on dry ground if the water had only recently stopped flowing? Wouldn’t the bottom of the Jordan be muddy? I wonder how deep and wide the Jordan would have been at the place of crossing.
3:16 It sounds like the waters were heaped up far off in the distance. Does this make a difference?
3:17 It sounds like the ark first led the way and then brought up the rear.

107:1 Is it not redundant to say that steadfast love endures forever?  Then again, this is poetry.
107:2 This is sounding like a call and response.
107:3 Note the four cardinal directions. When where the people gathered in?
107:4 If “some” wandered in desert wastes, what did others do?  Is this a reference to the Exodus, or something else?
107:5 I wonder if this verse influenced any New Testament authors, such as the author of John?
107:7 Is the straight way always the most direct and best way?
107:33-37 Is this an example of the first being last and the last being first, or rather the topsy-turvy world of Divine judgment and grace.
107:35 This is sounding antithetical to the imagery of the First Reading.

2:9 Is Paul bragging? Do you think the Thessalonians really remembered?  Would have they have remembered without Paul reminding them? By the way, I have never charged you a single cent, or asked you for any donation to help support Lectionary Ruminations 2.0.
2:10 Would Paul be defending his conduct if they had not been some accusation(s)?
2:11 In what other letters does Paul seem to take upon himself the parental function?
2:12 What does a life worthy of God look like?
2:13 Is “constantly” hyperbole?
this emphatic or interrogative? 
2:10

23:1 What does it mean when a Gospel tells us that Jesus is speaking to both the crowds and to his disciples?
23:2 What and where is “Moses’ seat”?
23:3 Can you think of any current day examples of people whose teachings we should follow but not follow their actions?
23:4 What do you know about phylacteries and fringe?  Are there any Christian comparisons? What burdens to preacher and minister types place on others?
23:5 Would a current example be the size of the cross one wears? The bumper stickers on one’s vehicle?
23:6 Where the best seats in Synagogues in the back? Where are the best seats today? Where is the place of honor at banquets?
23:7 If you happen to be ordained and/or serving in a pastoral position, how do people address you and how do you want them to address you?
23:8 So what shall the PC(USA) do with the designation “Teaching Elder”. I prefer we go back to “Minister of Word and Sacrament”.,
23:9 What can Hallmark do with this on Father’s Day? Has this ever been used against Roman Catholics?
23:10 Ouch! There goes my five years as an adjunct faculty instructor down the toilet.
23:11-12 Where have we heard this before? See my rumination on Psalm 107:33-37.

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, 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.