Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, August 7, 2011, the Nineteenth 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 37:1-4, 12-28
v. 1 What about Jacob’s grandfather? Were not both his father and grandfather aliens?

v. 2 The beginning of the Joseph narrative. Is there anything significant about Joseph being seventeen years old? Why are Bilhah and Zilpah referred to a “His father’s wives”?

v. 3 Note in verse 1 that Joseph’s father is referred to as “Jacob” but in this verse he is referred to a “Israel”. This is beginning to read like the story of yet another dysfunctional family.

v. 13 What usually happens when people respond “Here I am”?

v. 15 Do you think this was an ordinary “man”?

v. 18 Note: Play ominous music here!

v. 19 Why do his brothers refer to Joseph as “this dreamer”?

v. 20 A conspiracy is hatched.

v. 21 What might have been Reuben’s motive for saving his brother?

v. 24 Why is this important information?

v. 25 Who are “Ishmaelites” and is their presence her at allsignificant?

vs. 26-27 Might as well make some money from our bother’s demise!

v. 28 Who drew Joseph up out of the pit, his brother’s or the Midianite traders? What is the difference between Midianites and Ishmaelites? I recommend you read up on both.

Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b
v. 1 In the NRSV, “LORD” is ”all upper case. Thereefore, what would be the “name” to call on? What are the LORD’s deeds?

v. 2 Are Hymns in worship sung “about” God or “to” God?

v. 4 How can we continuously seek God’s presence?

v. 5 So both “miracles” and “judgements” are among God’s deeds?

v. 6 Why is Isaac omitted?

v. 17 Now we learn why this psalm is paired with the First Reading.

Romans 10:5-15
v.5 From what does Paul quote?

vs.6-7 Is Paul quoting or composing?

v.9 So public confession as well as an interior faith are essential?

v. 10 What us the relationship between justification and salvation?

v. 11 What is being quoted?

vs. 14-15 The old “Can someone who has never heard of Christ be saved?” question?

v. 15 So all candidates for the ministry of proclamation should have their feet examined? It is no wonder Paul was once confused with Hermes.

Matthew 14:22-33
v. 22 I am always surprised when read “Immediately” in a Gospel other than According to Mark. Why might Jesus have sent the disciples off without him?

vs. 23-25 A “Summit to Shore” narrative! Thanks, Matt.

v. 23 Yes, this is why some of us go to the Mountains, not because they are there, but to find peace and solitude.

v. 24 meanwhile, back on the boat . . .

v. 25 So the disciples spent the entire night on a boat battered about by winds on the open water?

v. 26 Exactly what were the disciples afraid of?

v. 17 Another “immediately”. Is this the heart of the passage?

v.25 If? Peter did not know or was not sure? Why did Peter need to be commanded?

v. 31 Jesus should have remembered “Throw, Row, Tow, Then Go!” Was Peter’s faith really “little” None of the other disciples set out to walk on the water. What was it Peter doubted?

v. 32 Why might the wind have ceased when Jesus and Peter got into the boat?

v. 33 What convinced these disciples that Jesus was the Son of God, that he walked on water? That he “saved” Peter? That the wind stopped when Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat?

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. Beginning August 8, 2011, I will begin working three hours a day, five days a week, also teaching a GED preparation class to young adults. How the increased workload will affect my writing Lectionary Ruminations remains to be seen.

3 comments:

Reverend Shari said...

Some pre-coffee comments:
Why are Bilhah and Zilpah referred to a “His father’s wives”? I assume this is to show that they are all half-brothers to him, and sons of servants.
The angel renamed Joseph as Israel after wrestling, so v. 3 is not showing any funny business.
v13: Heeneini - here I am - is a recurring theme. It's what Moses says at the burning bush, it's what Abraham says when G!d is looking for him.
Best, Shari

John Edward Harris said...

Shari,

Thanks for the comments.

Yes, Bilhah and Zilpah were mothers of Jaob's children and therefore Joseph's half-brothers. But why does this narrative promote them from servants to wives?, In sppite of how Bilhah and Zilpah are identified, I think conservative proponants of "traditional family values" need to chew on this passage for awhile because it does not reflect the one husband - one wife nuclear family they champion.

Name changes, such as Jacob to Israel (and Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah) often follow an encounter with the Holy One and a changed spiritual ataus. But why does this passage begin with "Joseph" and then shift to "Israel". It may be the evidence of a redactor weaving together various narratives and not striving for consistancy.

John Edward Harris said...

Shari,

Regarding verse 13, let us not forget Samuel, the Psalmist, and Isaiah, who also responded with the same phrase, probably parroting Moses.