Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, November 3, 2013, the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (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.) 

1:1 What is the difference between an oracle and a vision?

1:2 It sounds like Habakkuk is growing impatient.

1:3 This sounds very timely in the contemporary context.

1:4 What law is Habakkuk saying is becoming slack?

2:1 Is this a physical or a metaphorical watchpost and rampart?

2:2 Why has the “oracle” of 1:1 become a “vision”?   Can a vision always be translated into words? 

2:3 So this is a vision of an impending, yet to come vision?

2:4 Is it impossible to be both proud and righteous, righteous and proud?

119:137 Do right judgments not presume a righteous God?

119:138 What is the relationship between righteousness and faithfulness?

119:139 Have you ever been consumed by zeal?

119:140 What promise?  What does “well tried” mean?

119:141 Small in comparison to what or who?

119:142 Is God’s law true by itself, or true because it is God’s law?

119:143 What commandments is the Psalmist referring to?  Would most Christians today consider God’s commandments a delight?

119:144 What sort of understanding is the Psalmist praying for?

119:137-144 How many synonyms for “law” can you find in this reading?

1:1 What do you know about Silvanus?  What do you know about Thessaloniki?

1:2 How do Trinitarians deal with a non-Trinitarian greeting?

1:3 How does Paul know that the Thessalonians’ faith is growing and their love is increasing?  What were his metrics?

1:4 What persecutions and afflictions does Paul have in mind?

1:11 Why I am I thinking of the movie Waynes World?

1:12 Is the name of Jesus Christ glorified in you?  Are you glorified in him?

19:1 What do you know about Jerico?

19:2 What matters more, the man’s name, occupation, or that he was rich?

19:3 Why do people want to see important and famous people?  Might “short in stature” refer to more than this man’s physical height?

19:4 Is there anything special, significant, or symbolic about sycamore trees?

19:5 How did Jesus know Zacchaeus was there?  How did Jesus know his name?  What is the meaning of “must”?

19:6 Who would have been unhappy to welcome Jesus?

19:7 Might “All who saw it” be a hyperbole?   How could “all who saw it” know that Zacchaeus was a sinner?

19:8 What might have motivated what Zacchaeus said?

19:9 What might be the meaning of “Today salvation has come to this house”?  Would salvation have come to his house if he were not a son of Abraham?

19:10 Why does Jesus often refer to himself as “the Son of Man”?  Does what Jesus say mean that Zacchaeus was in fact lost but is now saved?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, October 13, 2013, the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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.

First Reading – Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
29:1 What an archeological discovery it would be to find this actual letter.  What is the meaning of “remaining elders”? Had some elders taken into exile escaped, died, been killed?

29:4 Not that God had sent the people into exile.  Nebuchadnezzar had not taken them into exile.

29:5-6 What is the underlying meaning of this prophesy?  How does it possibly apply to Christians—resident aliens—in a secular culture and post-Christian world?

29:7 Do you pray for your city every Lord’s Day?

66:1 What is a joyful noise?  Does “all the earth” refer to only people?  Only to living beings?  To the fullness of creation?

66:2 How does one sing the glory of God’s name when God’s name is considered unpronounceable?

66:3 What are God’s deeds?  How do you understand the meaning of “awesome”?  Are you familiar Rudolph Otto’s concept of numinous in The Idea of the Holy or Aldous Huxley’s concept of mysterium tremendum in The Doors of Perception?

66:4 What do we do with “Selah”?  Pronounce it?  Ignore it?  Take it as a cue to break into a guitar riff?

66:5 Can we see all of God’s deeds or are some invisible?

66:6 Is this the deed, or this is just part of a larger and more significant deed?

66:8 This sounds like a call to worship.

66:9 Is slipping feet a metaphor referring to death, or even extinction of a race and culture?

66:10 How and why is silver tried?

66:12 I think I know what “water” might refer to, but I am not so sure I know what “fire” refers to.  How might our understanding of this verse be influenced by The Shoah?  What and where is the “spacious place”?

2:8 Does “remember” mean only do not forget?  This is a pretty bare bones gospel.

2:9 Where and why was Paul chained like a criminal?

2:10 This may be a verse particularly dear to theological offspring of Calvin.

2:12-13 How can Jesus Christ both deny us if we deny him but remain faithful if we are faithless?

2:14 Who are the “them”?  What do you think Paul meant by “wrangling over words”?  I wonder what Paul would think and say about my Lectionary Ruminations.

2:15 Why would any worker have a need to be ashamed?  What does it mean to “rightly explain the word of truth”?  Why does the word of truth need to be explained?

17:11 Geographically speaking. Where in relation to Jerusalem is the region between Samaria and Galilee.  Why does it matter?

17:12 Is there any significance to the fact that there ten lepers?

17:13 Why am I thinking of the Philokalia and The Jesus Prayer?

17:14 Jesus apparently did not lay hands on them, pray for them, or do anything else other than tell them to go and show themselves to the priests, and they were made clean!  What does it mean to be made clean?

17:15 All ten were made clean, but were all ten healed?  Why would only one turn back, praising God with a loud voice?

17:16 Have you ever prostrated yourself at another person’s feet?  Has anyone ever prostrated themselves at your feet? Were the other nine not Samaritan?  What does it matter that the one who turned back, praised God with a loud voice, prostrated himself before Jesus, and thanked Jesus was a Samaritan?

17:17 Perhaps someone knew the answer to the first question, but the second?

17:18 Is this a rhetorical question?

17:19 Is this after the fact statement it seems that Jesus is simply interpreting what has already happened.  Did the other nine, who did not return, also have faith?