Monday, July 7, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, July 13, 2014, the Fifteenth 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.

25:19-20 Last Sunday, Isaac and Rebekah got hitched.  This week, we learn about their offspring.  First, however, we are reminded of Isaac and Rebekah’s ancestry.  Why such an emphasis on lineage?
25:21 Where have we read about something like this before? I wonder how long the couple were not able to conceive.
25:22 Is this an example of pre-natal care or pre-natal prayer?
25:23 Is this an example of prophecy or foreshadowing? How many “nations” can we now trace to Abraham?
25:24 Did we not see this coming based on the previous verses?
25:24-26 What do these names, Esau and Jacob, mean?
25:28 I wonder how old Rebekah was.
25:27-28 Can you spell “conflict” and “dysfunctional family”?  What greater conflict might be represented by the personal conflict between Esau and Jacob?
25:31 What is a “birthright” and what does it mean to sell it?  How can such a thing be sold?
25:30-32 Was Esau prone to hyperbole and impulsiveness?
25:34 If Esau despised his birthright, did Jacob despise his bother?
25:29-34 Is Jacob’s behavior an example of unbridled capitalism or exploitation?

How does this Psalm serve as a commentary on or contrast to the First Reading?  Does it make any difference that these verses are only part of a larger acrostic work?
119:105 This is a rather well known verse, thanks to its use in the liturgy.  Does such familiarity make it more difficult to read and hear it in new ways?  What “word” is being referred to?
119:106 What does it mean to “confirm” an oath?
119:110 What might be the nature of this “snare”?
Are “word”, “ordinances”, “law”, “precepts”, “decrees”, and “statutes” mere synonyms, used for poetic reasons, or are there nuanced differences being suggested?

8:1 I hate it when readings begin with a “therefore” because I always wonder what came before. Who would condemn those who are in Christ Jesus?
8:2 What is the “law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”?  Note how law/Spirit/life is contrasted with law/sin/death.
8:3 How was the law weakened by the flesh? What is the meaning of “likeness”?  Does “likeness” suggest anything less than full humanity?
8:4 What is the “just requirement of the Law”?
8:3-11 In our day and age, how do we deal with all this “flesh” and “spirit” language?
8:11 This sounds like life now, not everlasting life later.  Is it also true that those whom the Spirit does not dwell in are already “dead”? Is there a difference between

13:1 What day? Same day as what? Whose house did Jesus leave? What sea did he sit beside?
13:2 Why did Jesus get into a boat?
13:3 If Jesus told the crowds many things, why is this parable, and not some other parable or parables, included in the Gospel?  Is this parable about a sower, about the seeds, or about something else altogether? What else might Jesus have taught the crowd that we are not informed about?
13:9  Maybe the sower was sowing seed corn.
13:18 Does the fact that we have this verse mean that Jesus or the Gospel writer knew or assumed we do not have ears?
13:19 What is understanding?
13:20-21 What do roots look like and how does one establish them?
13:22 Are “cares of the world” the same as Paul’s “flesh” in the Second Reading?
13:23 So not all seed, even if it falls on good soil, bears the same quantity?  What about quality?
In retrospect, was this parable about a sower, about the seed that was sown, or about the soil where the seed was sown, or something else all together?  Why did Jesus tell this particular parable?  What was Jesus trying to tell the crowd that he could tell them only through this parable?


I will be preaching at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Chester, WV on July 13 but I will not be preaching from the Lectionary.

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