Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for for Sunday, November 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent (Year B)

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.)

Isaiah 64:1-9
v. 1-9 In the NRSV this Reading is formatted as poetry rather than prose.

v. 1 Why is the tearing open of the heavens associated with the coming down of God?

v. 2 Both images seem to suggest something happening quickly; not instantaneously but not slowly.

v. 3 Hey God, remember when?

v. 4 So there ARE other gods, but gods who do not work for those wait for them?

v. 5 I find the order interesting. Did we sin because God was angry? Did wetransgress because God hid from us?

v. 6 I like the leaf imagery followed by the wind imagery, the wind blowing fallen dry leaves here and there.

v. 7 So it is God’s fault that no one calls on the divine name because God has hidden the divine face from us?

v. 8 Yet? From an early church perspective, God’s work is not done until is is fired by the Holy Spirit.

v. 9 You can be a little angry, God, but please, do not be exceedingly angry. You can remember my iniquity for a little while, but please, not forever. Do not be too hard on us, God, after all, we are your people.

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
v. 1 An interesting first verse in light of last week’s Readings. What are cherubim and where would you find them?

v. 2 Who are Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh and why are they mentioned when no one else is mentioned except Joseph?

v. 3 What does God’s shining face represent?

v. 4 Is God angry with people’s prayers rather than the people who pray those prayers?

v. 5 is this Anti-Eucharistic imagery?

v. 7 I think I am hearing a refrain.

v. 17 Who is at God’s right hand?

v. 18 Is this a quid pro quo?

v. 19 Is this déjà vu all over again.

1 Corinthians 1:3-9
v. 3 This is always a good way to begin a letter.

v. 5 What does it mean to be enriched in speech and knowledge?

v. 7 What does it mean to lack in a spiritual gift? What is Paul referring to when he writes about “the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ?”

v.9 Here is a good Reformed word – “called”.

Mark 13:24-37
v. 24 It takes only the first four words to make this reading sound apocalyptic.

v. 25 This verse always reminds me of a passage in C. S. Lewis’ “The Last Battle” in the Chronicles of Narnia.

v. 26 What is it about clouds?

v. 27 How many times does Scripture mention the four winds? The mention of “the four winds” reminds me of Native American and Pagan spirituality.

v. 28 I find this verse enhanced by personally experiencing the need to pick and eat figs soon after they are ripe because they will not stay ripe very long before they will spoil on the branch.

v. 30 How do we interpret this verse about 50 generations later?

v. 34 What does it mean to be spiritually awake?

ADDENDUM
This Sunday is the First Sunday in Advent and the first Sunday in Liturgical Year B – the year of Mark’s Gospel.

In addition to serving as the half time 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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