Monday, July 21, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, July 27, 2014, the Seventeenth 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.

29:15 It must be nice to be able to set one’s own wages.
29:16 I find it interesting that we have a story involving two daughters (not twins) in the midst of a story about two brothers (twins)!
29:17 I think “lovely” is the preferable translation.  Could the description of Leah and Rachel be seen at all as sexist or demeaning of women?
29:18 I wonder if it was love of lust.  Is there any significance to the number seven?
29:19 Is this the meaning of the question “Who gives this women to be married”?
29:20 Tempus fugit?
29:21 Biblical euphemisms for sexual intercourse can sound so . . . . biologically crude.
29:22-25 It is ironic that the trickster has been tricked.  Is this a Biblical example of the principle that what goes around comes around?
29:27 What is “the week”?  Why does Laban say “we” will give? Who is the we?
29:28 In the end, Jacob got what he wanted, and more so.

105:1-3 Is this the song Jacob sang on his wedding night(s)? Several versus could be adapted as a Call to Worship.
105:5 What wonderful  works has the LORD done?
105:6 Why is Jacob not mentioned?
105:8 The pairing of Jacob and Rachel can be seen as partial fulfillment of God’s Covenant. Is a thousand generations meant as figurative language or an actual number?
105:9 Why are the women/mothers hardly ever mentioned?  Can the reader supply their names and still be faithful to the text?
105:45b Why do so many Psalms end with this phrase?

128:1 What is the meaning of “fear”?  What does it mean to “walk in God’s ways”?
128:2 In light of today’s First Reading, are Leah and Rachel the fruit of the labor of Jacob’s hands?
128:3 Is this why this Alternate Psalm was chosen to be paired with the First Reading?
128:4 Is the woman not also blessed?
128:5 A nice blessing/benediction for a citizen or inhabitant of Jerusalem, but what about Christians in an American church?

8:26 We do not know how to pray as we ought.  That is why the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.  That is why Teaching Elders and Educators ought to be educated in the school of prayer and prepared to teach others how to pray.  Yes, that was me standing on my soap box.  My D. Min. project at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (2004) was GUIDANCE IN AND EXPERIENCE OF LITURGICAL PRAYER AS AN ELEMENT OF PERSONAL AND COMMUNAL WORSHIP IN THE REFORMED TRADITION.  Please contact me if you would like to schedule me to lead a workshop or retreat on prayer.
8:27 How does the Spirit intercede for us?
8:28 Do we really know this?
8:29 There is that Presbyterian word “Predestined”!  What do you make of it?
8:30 And there is that other good Presbyterian word “called”!  What do you make of this progression: Predestined called justified glorified?
8:31 This is one of my favorite verses.  Does the second question answer the first?  Is the second question rhetorical or does it assume the answer “No one.”
8:33-34 Interesting verses to someday juxtapose with the Rules of Discipline in the Book of Order.
8:34 In verse 26, Paul writes that the Spirit intercedes for us.  Now he writes that Christ Jesus intercedes for us.  Can Paul not make up his mind, or was he just not being careful?  Why would he intentionally say both?
8:35 Paul asks “Who” but answers with a list of “whats”.  This reads like a “Vince Lombardy before the big game in the locker room” sort of speech.
8:36 Oh well, there goes the momentum of v. 35. What sheep are slaughtered?  Where is this written?
8:37 Wait, maybe not!  Maybe Paul will pull out a great one liner.
8:38-39 Paul, can I quote you on that?  Is there any thing missing from this list?  I wish Paul had said “. . . nor things past, nor things present, nor things to come”.
8:39 Is there anything not in creation?

13:31 How many parable did Jesus but before them in Matthew?  Are all parables in Matthew about the kingdom of heaven?  What do you know about mustard seeds?
13:32 Is the mustard plant really the greatest of shrubs and does it eventually become a tree?
13:33 What do you know about yeast? What is yeast?
13:44 Mustard seeds and yeast are natural and organic.  A treasure is not.
13:45-46 Here we have another item of value, but at least it is organic. Would this be a shrewd investment?
13:47-50 Something smells fishy.  We have moved from “kingdom parables” to apocalyptic prognostications.  A net and fish is a combination of manufactured and natural items combined in one parable. Is this a parable about the net, about fish, or about the kingdom which is even more?
13:49 What and when is the end of the age? How does it feel to be compared to fish?
13:50 Where have we heard this imagery before? How shall moderns and post-moderns deal with such imagery?
13:51 This is a good question. I would love to ask this question after every sermon.  Unfortunately this is a bad answer because it was not true.  These people need to learn a lesson in wisdom from Socrates.
13:52 An entire sermon could probably be preached  and an entire hour of education could probably be developed around this single verse.  Who are the scribes? What is our treasure?  What among our treasure is new?  What among our treasure is old?  What among our treasure is valuable and what is junk? Can treasure also be junk?  Is anyone else thinking of Phyllis Tickle’s The Great Emergence?

ADDENDUM
This coming Sunday, July 27th, I will be preaching at the FirstPresbyterian Church, Martin’s Ferry, OH.

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