Monday, June 23, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, June 29, 2014, the Thirteenth 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.

22:1 After what things?  What is the meaning of “tested”? How many times and from how many people in the Hebrew Scriptures do we hear “Here I am”? What was the alternative response, “I am not here” or simply ignoring God?
22:2 Is there anything significance to the location Moriah? How has this verse informed the Christian understanding of John 3:16?  How has john 3:16 influenced how Christians read this passage of Hebrew Scripture?
22:3 I wonder if and when the other two young men figured out what Abraham had in mind.
22:4 How might the phrase “On the third day” influenced the Gospel story?
22:5 Was Abraham lying, or being prescient, when he said to the young men “we will come back to you”?
22:7 I find it interesting that Abraham responds to Isaac with the same “Here I am” as in 22:1. How how this verse informed the Gospel understanding of Jesus as the Lamb of God?
22:8 Again, was Abraham lying or prescient when he told Isaac “God will provide the lamb for a burnt offering? From a Christian perspective, God HAS provided the lamb, but not for a burnt offering.
22:9 Thus the usual way of referring to this passage: “The Binding of Isaac”.  What was the age of Isaac when this took place?  Do you think Isaac physically resisted when his father started to bind him?
22:10 Many will find this verse offensive. How do we address the emotions it can elicit?
22:11 Note that in 22: 1 God calls Abraham by name once but that in this verse an angel of the Lord calls Abraham by name twice. Is the “Angel of the Lord” the same as God?   Abraham responds with the quintessential “I am” of 22:1 and 22:7.
22:12 How do you understand the word “fear”?  Do you “fear” God? Some consider this the most dangerous and scariest verse, in the whole Bible.  What do you think?
22:13 Does a found ram really fulfill the requirements of a burnt offering?
22:14 What is the Hebrew for “The LORD will provide”? Where is this place?

13:1 If this Psalm is in the lectionary today to function as a response to or interpretation of Genesis 22:1-14, then I would rather God forget me than call me to sacrifice my only child (if I had a child). Is it even possible for the LORD to forget?  What does it mean for God to hide the divine face?
13:2 Sometimes the length of time we bear pain is worse than the intensity of the pain. I wonder what enemy the Psalmist had in mind.
13:3 Is any answer better than no answer at all? What is the “sleep of death”?
13:4 Never let your foes see you shake.
13:5-6 Note that “trusted” and “has dealt” is in the past tense while “shall rejoice” and “will sing” is in the future tense.  Is this nothing more than a Hebraic poetic device?

6:12 I hate it when lectionary readings, especially from the Pauline corpus, start with “Therefore”.
6:13 What do you make of the plural “members” and “yourselves”?
6:14 How do you reconcile this verse with 6:12?
6:15 I think Paul’s argument is logically weak. If we are not under the law how can we sin?
6:16 How do we deal with this slavery language? According to Paul’s logic, does sin correlate with law the same way obedience equates with grace?
6:17 What is the meaning of “obedient from the heart”? What “form of teaching” is Paul referring to?
6:18 How do we reconcile the concept of “slaves to righteousness” with the idea of free will?
6:19 What does Paul mean by “human terms” and “Natural limitations”?   I would say more, but I feel limited by my human nature. Sometimes I wish Paul had been more of a poet and less a didactic theologian.
6:20 Sometimes our freedom in relation to things is not good?
6:21 What things are the Romans now ashamed of? What does Paul mean by “end”?
6:22 How does enslavement lead to sanctification? 
6:23 Is Paul mixing metaphors by shifting from enslavement/freedom language to wage/gift language?

10:40 To who is Jesus speaking? What does it mean to “welcome”?
10:41 What does this “in the name of” language mean? What is a prophet’s reward?  What is the reward of the righteoius?

10:42 Who are these “little ones”?  Which disciple’s name would you like to affix to the water fountain? I recall a neighboring church located on a parade route regularly handing out free bottles of water labeled with the church’s name, address and worship hours to the thirsty watching various parades. What is the reward that won’t be lost? 

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