Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, July 10, 2011, the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Posted each Thursday, Lectionary Ruminations focuses on the Scripture Readings, taken from the New Revised Standard Version, for the following Sunday per the Revised Common Lectionary. Comments and questions are intended to encourage reflection for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged. All lectionary links are to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead. (Other references are linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.)


Genesis 25:19-34
vs. 19-20 Last Sunday, Isaac and Rebekah got hitched. This week, we learn about their offspring. First, however, we are reminded of Isaac and Rebekah’s ancestry. Why such an emphasis on lineage?

v. 21 Where have we read about something like this before?

v. 22 Pre-natal care or pre-natal prayer?

v. 23 Is this an example of prophecy or foreshadowing?

v. 24 Did we not see this coming based on the previous verse?

vs. 24-26 What do these names, Esau and Jacob, mean?

vs. 27-28 Can you spell “conflict” “dysfunctional family”? What greater conflict might be represented by the personal conflict between Esau and Jacob?

v. 31 What is a “birthright” and what does it mean to sell it? How can such a thing be sold?

v. 34 If Esau despised his birthright, did Jacob despise his bother?

vs. 29-34 Is this an example of unbridled capitalism or exploitation?

Psalm 119:105-112
How does this Psalm serve as a commentary on or contrast to the First Reading? Does it make any difference that these verses are only part of a larger acrostic work?

v. 105 This is a rather well known verse, thanks to its use in the liturgy. Does such familiarity make it more difficult to read and hear it in new ways? What “word” is being referred to?

v. 106 What does it mean to “confirm” an oath?

v. 110 What might be the nature of this “snare”?

Are “word”, “ordinances”, “law”, “precepts”, “decrees”, and “statutes” mere synonyms, used for poetic reasons, or are there nuanced differences being suggested?

Romans 8:1-11
v. 1 I hate it when readings begin with a “therefore” because I always wonder what came before.

v. 2 What is the “law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”? Is there an assumption of contrast?

v. 3 How was the law weakened by the flesh? What is the meaning of “likeness”? Does “likeness” suggest anything less than full humanity?

v. 4 What is the “just requirement of the Law”?

vs. 3-11 In our day and age, how do we deal with all this “flesh” and “spirit” language?

v. 11 This sounds like life now, not everlasting life later. Is it also true that those whom the Spirit does not dwell in are already “dead”?

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
v. 1 What same day?

v. 2 Why did Jesus get into a boat?

v. 3 If Jesus told the crowds many things, why is this parable, and not some other parable or parables, included in the Gospel? Is this parable about a sower, about the seeds, or about something else all together?

v. 9 Maybe the sower was sowing seed corn.

v. 18 does the fact that we have this verse mean that Jesus knew or assumed we do not have ear>

v.19 OK.

vs. 20-21 Alright, I know some people who were like that.

v. 22 Makes sense.

v. 23 So not all seed, even if it falls on good soil, bear the same quantity? What about quality?

In retrospect, was this parable about a sower, about the seed that was sown, or about the soil where the seed was sown, or something else all together? Why did Jesus tell this particular parable? What was he trying to tell the crowd that he could tell them only through this parable?
ADDENDUM
In addition to serving as the half time Designated Pastor of North Church Queens and writing Lectionary Ruminations, I also tutor part time. If you or someone you know needs a tutor, or if you would like to be a tutor, check our my WyzAnt page and follow the appropriate links.


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