Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, November 24, 2013, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (Year C)

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.) 

23:1 Who are these shepherds?  Why would any shepherd destroy and scatter sheep they are responsible for?

23:2 How have the shepherds scattered the flock?  How have the shepherds driven sheep away?  How do we read this passage after nearly a half century of membership decline in the mainline church?

23:4 It sounds that in the midst of the failure of the old order shepherds that God will raise up new shepherds in their place.  What might this mean in a mainline church where many Teaching Elders (Ministers) are younger than the governing body of Ruling Elders?

23:5 Will this righteous branch be like a new shepherd, replacing the old shepherds?  From a Christian perspective, have these coming days already been fulfilled? 

23:6 How else might we translate “The LORD is our righteousness”?

The PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website identifies this as a Gospel reading but it functions as a Psalm or Canticle.  Does it make a difference how we label or identify it?

1:68 Who is speaking? Why does this sound so familiar?

1:69 Does it make a difference that this mighty savior has been raised up “in” the house of David rather than “from” the house of David?

1:70 All the prophets or just some of the prophets?

1:71 So this savior saves from enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.  Note that sin is not mentioned.

1:72 Which covenant is being remembered?

1:73 What oath did God swear?  Why would God swear an oath?  What would be our recourse if God did not keep this oath?

1:74 Does this mean that we are saved for service?

1:75 How do we serve in holiness and righteousness?

1:76 What child?  Is the profit going to prepare the way for the LORD God, or for the mighty savior?

1:77 What is salvation if we are not aware of it?  How does forgiveness of sins save from enemies and from the hand of all that hate us? (see 1:71)

1:78 Is there a difference between mercy and tender mercy?  Is tender mercy different from stern mercy?  I love the poetic and metaphorical “dawn from on high” because it leaves so much to the creative imagination.

1:79 How do we handle the image of sitting in darkness with racial sensitivity?  How does the image of giving light to those who sit in darkness naturally flow from the image of the dawn from on high?  Can we be guided in the way of peace without light?

1:11 This verse reminds me of a modern Celtic caim by David Adam which includes the petition “Keep strength within, keep weakness out.”

1:12 is this the same light as in Luke 1:79?  Who re the saints in the light and what is their inheritance?

1:13 Why do I keep being drawn back to Luke 1:79.  I am also being drawn to the John’s Prologue.

1:14 Is redemption synonymous with salvation?

1:15 How can anything serve as an image of something, or someone that is invisible?  What is the difference between being the firstborn and pre-existence?

1:16 Does this verse justify equating Christ with the Sophia of Proverbs?  What does it mean that “in him” all things were created, and created “through him and for him”?

1:17 I would love for a theoretical astro-physicist to reflect and expound on this image, especially as it relates to cosmology and cosmogony.  Perhaps this could be worked into a future episode of The Big Bang Theory.

1:18 Where else have we encountered this body metaphor? Does being the firstborn of the dead have anything to do with being the firstborn of all creation? (see 1:15)

1:19 What is the meaning of “dwell”?  Does this suggest anything less than permanent?  How does this relate to essence?

1:20 Why do all things need to be reconciled to God?  How can peace be made through the blood of Christ’s cross?

23:33 When who came?  What place is called “The Skull”?  Who crucified Jesus? 

23:34 For who was Jesus praying?  What does it mean to cast lots?

23:35 How had Jesus saved others?  Why did Jesus not save himself?

23:36 Is “mocking” the same as the “scoffed” of the previous verse? How is offering sour wine a type of mocking?

23:37 Is this a mere re-phrasing of 23:35?

23:38 How does this inscription negate the questions raised in verses 35 and 37?

23:39 Once again, this sounds like an echo of verses 35 as well as verse 37.

23:40 What are we to make of the juxtaposition of these two criminals and their statements and attitudes?

23:41 How did this criminal now that Jesus had done nothing wrong?

23:42 Why am I once again thinking of The Jesus Prayer and The Philokelia?

23:43 What are we to make of the “today”?  What is paradise?

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