Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, November 6, 2011, the Thirty-Second 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.)

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
v. 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.

v. 2 Why does Joshua point back one generation to Terah rather than to Abraham?

v. 14 What is this talk about putting away other gods all about?

v. 15 Three choices: Serve the gods our ancestors worshiped before God called Abraham, serve thelocal gods of the Amorites, or serve the LORD.

vs. 14-18 Is this about monotheism, or about recognizing that of all the gods, only one, the LORD, is the one who has saved us?

v. 19 “You cannot serve theLORD”?

v. 23 Did the people actually have statues of gods, or is this a metaphorical “put away”?

v. 25 Is this the third covenant? What statutes and ordinances are being referred to?

Psalm 78:1-7
v. 1 Who is the speaking?

v. 2 What are “dark sayings from of old”?

v. 3 This sounds like a reference to the oral tradition.

v. 4 Why might you want to hide dark sayings from children?

v. 5 Is the speaker not a child of his/her ancestors?

vs.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 Thessalonians 4:13-18
v. 13 How might we be uninformed?

v. 14 What does Paul mean “God will bring with him”?

v. 15 What is this all about?

vs. 16-17 Does this presuppose a pre-Copernican three tiered universe? How do we translate this into modern cosmological terms?

v. 18 How are these words encouraging? See item #16 on page 914 in the PC(USA) Book of Common Worship. See also page 949.

Matthew 25:1-13
v. 1 A kingdom parable?

v. 2 Why ten bridesmaids? Why five foolish and five wise?

v. 5 What is this about “delay”? Note that both the wise and the foolish become drowsy and fall asleep.

v. 6 Why midnight? Who shouted?

v. 9 What about sharing?

v. 12 This sounds curt.

v. 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
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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