Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, January 8, 2012, the Baptism of the Lord (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.)  

v. 1 There are several ways the verb can be translated.  Is it “when God created” or “when God began to create” or something else altogether?  What difference does it make?  Take a close look at the user notes in one or two study Bibles, or better yet, the gleanings and notes in The Torah.  Why is thispassage paired with Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism?

v. 2 What is the Hebrew word for “wind” and how else can the word be translated?

v. 3 What, if any, is the significance of light being the first thing created?

v. 4 What if God saw that the light was not good? How did God separate the lighgt from the darkness?

v. 5 Can there be day without night, or night without day?

vs. 1-5 How does one preach/teach this passage in a post Copernican and post modern world, especially considering there is at least one other Biblical (and different) account of creation?

v. 1 Who are the heavenly beings?

v. 2 What is the name of the LORD?

vs. 3-11 How can one teach/preach using storm god imagery while recognizing that storm god imagery is not the only imagery applied to the LORD?  Sleeping under a small tarp in the wilderness during a nighttime thunder and lightning storm and hiking on a high wilderness ridge during a daytime thunder and lightning storm has greatly influenced how I read this passage.  What are your experiences of storms and how do those experiences influence how you understand this passage?

v. 1 Who was Apollos? What else do you know about him?  Why does Paul mention him?

v. 2 How could someone be a disciple and never have heard about the Holy Spirit.

v. 3 Were these disciples actually baptized by John?

v. 5 Did Paul actually baptize them with water, or simply lay his hands on them?  What is the difference between being baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus” and being baptized “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit”?  What does it mean to speak in tongues?  What does it mean to prophesy?

v. 7 “About” seems to be a relatively general term while “twelve” seems to be very specific and pointvto the twelve tribes of Israel and “the twelve” disciples of Jesus.

v. 4 I much prefer the descriptive phrase “John the baptizer” rather than the more usual “John the Baptist.”   At least Mark agrees with Acts regarding a description of John’s baptism.

v. 5 “All the people of Jerusalem” seems to be hyperbole.

v. 6 Where does this imagery come from and what does it point to?  Might locusts refer to something other than bugs?

v. 7 As I have asked in a previous rumination, what is so special about the thing of a sandal?

v. 8 Might this be some literary foreshadowing or reading developments back into the text?

v. 10 What do the heavens being torn apart look like?  Is there a difference between the Spirit “descending like a dove” and “descending as a dove”?  Did anyone other than Jesus see these things?

v. 11 Did anyone other than Jesus hear this voice?

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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