Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, September 25, 2011, the Twenty-Sixth 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 may be linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.) 

Exodus 17:1-7
v. 1 What does it mean to journey “by stages”? Did the LORD command them to journey or journey by stages? Why would anyone camp at a place where there was no water?

v. 2 How many time now, have the people quarreled with Moses? How is quarrelling with Moses the same as testing God?

v. 4 How many pastors, how many times, have similarly cried out?

v. 5 So Moses served in a multi staff congregation! I want to know more about this staff. Where might it be now?

v. 6 “The rock”? Was this a well-known rock? The only rock? What do you know about Horeb?

v. 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 “Massah and Meribah (put your denomination here) Church”?

Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
v. 1 Who is the speaker?

v. 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. I sometimes wonder what dark sayings from of old have been lost from the oral and written tradition.

v. 4 Why would anyone want to hide such things from their children?

v. 12 Where is Zoan?

vs. 15 & 16 Do these two verses talk about the same thing?

Philippians 2:1-13
v. 1 If?

v. 2 Are we to assume Paul’s joy was not yet complete?

v. 4 This certainly runs against most current political rhetoric.

v. 5 Based on this verse, are we then to think and act in accordance with verses 6-8?

v. 6 How would one exploit equality with God?

vs.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?

v. 11 Is this not the most basic confession of the Christian faith?

v. 12 How do we work out our own salvation? Why with fear and trembling?

v. 13 Or? What is the meaning and function of this verse?

Matthew 21:23-32
v. 23 Is this a legitimate question? And the answer is?

v. 24 Tit for tat?

vs. 25-27 In other words, do not speak the truth but the most politically advantageous answer.

v. 27 Did the chief priests and elders really know but were not willing to answer, or did they really not know?

vs. 28-32 How does this parable logically follow from what precedes it?

v. 28 What is the symbolism of the vineyard?

v. 31 Touché! 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 get in.

v. 32 And the lesson is?

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 out my WyzAnt page and follow the appropriate links.

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