Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, June 22, 2014, the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.

21:8 What is the significance of Isaac growing and being weaned? Why did Abraham make a feast when Isaac was weaned?
21:9 Are these the mythological roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict? Why is the son of Hagar nowhere named in this passage?
21:10 Do you think inheritance was the only issue?
21:11 Which son is the cause of distress?
21:12 How many more times will God not operate by conventional standards?
21:13 So Abraham will be the father of at least two, if not many nations!
21:14 This verses raise a lot of issues that might insult the ears of modern readers, and rightly so.
21:15 Why did Hagar cast her son under a bush?
21:16 I wonder if Hagar thought she too was about to die.
21:17 I think it is interesting the God hears the voice of the boy even though the passage does not tell us the boy is crying, but it does tell us that Hagar is crying, which God seems to ignore. Where else have we heard “Do not be afraid”? What fear is God referring to?
21:18 It seems that Arabs could appeal to this verse for claiming God’s blessing. 
21:19 Was the well there earlier and Hagar did not see it, or has it just appeared?
21:20 What is the meaning of “God was with the boy”? I find it interesting that the boy became an expert with the bow in light of his mother having sat a bowshot away from him (21:16) when she thought he was about to die.
21:21 Where is Paran?

86:1 Are we to hear this today as the prayer of Hagar? Does this presume the preferential option of the poor and needy?
86:2 Is the Psalmist appealing to God’s conscience?
86:3 This verse reminds me of Luke 18:1-8.
86:4 What does it mean to lift up one’s soul?
86:5 Is the Psalmist asking to be forgiven?
86:6 Why must God be supplicated?
86:7 Does the Psalmist not call on God in good days?
86:8 What other gods is the Psalmist referring to?  What are God’s works?
86:9 What nations does the Psalmist have in mind?  What about Genesis 21:18?
86:10 Is the Psalmist buttering up God? Are the wondrous things in this verse the same as the works in 86:8?
86:16 Who is speaking here?  Who is the servant? Who is the child?
86:17 How do we ask for and seek for signs?  Is the Psalmist reminding God of how God has helped in the past?

6:1b-2 What if Paul was wrong? Was this a rhetorical question or might some have actually been making this argument?
6:2 Is there a difference between living in sin and being a sinner?
6:3 We may know this but what about those to whom Paul was writing?
6:4 What did Paul mean by “newness of life”?
6:5 Have we indeed been united with him in a death like his? What was his resurrection like?
6:6 How was our old life crucified?
6:7 How does death free us from sin?
6:8 Is Paul beginning to repeat himself? See 6:4.
6:9 Who is the “We”?
6:10 I find the dying to death and living to God an interesting literary construction and profound theological idea.
6:11 Is there a difference between actually being dead to sin and considering oneself dead to sin? Why is it that some people who claim to be alive to God in Christ Jesus seem to get no joy or satisfaction out of life?

10:24 Who is speaking?
10:25 Who or what is Beelzebul?  Who is calling who Beelzebul?
10:26-27 With covered/uncovered, secret/known, dark/light and whispered/proclaim language, this passage is beginning to sound apocalyptic.
10:28 Who can kill both soul and body in hell?
10:29 Why are the sparrows sold?
10:29-31 Not one sparrow falls to the ground without God’s knowledge yet the sparrow still fall to the ground. Is there any comfort in that? What comfort is there in knowing that te hairs on my head are counted?
10:32 Is acknowledging Jesus the same as expressing one’s trust in him?
10:33 What does it mean to deny Jesus? Where does the agnostic, or the disinterested, fit into this?
10:34 There goes the image of Christ the peacemaker!  This and the following verses can be very troubling.  How do we deal with them in an age of jihad and fundamentalist extremism?
10:35-37 I wonder how James Dobson and his Focus on the Family deal with these verses.
10:37 Note that one can still love their parents but not more than they love Jesus.
10:38 What does it mean to “take up the cross”?
10:39 This verse sounds paradoxical yet I think it expresses a cross cultural and universal spiritual truth. 


This coming Sunday I will be preaching at the Hilltop Presbyterian Church near Toronto, Ohio.

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