Monday, September 1, 2014

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, September 7, 2014, the Twenty-Third 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.


12:1-14 Many congregations, such as the one I serve as Interim Pastor, will be celebrating the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper this coming Sunday simply because it is the first Sunday of the month.  I could not expect a more fitting passage than this one to preface the celebration yet is it simply a quirk of the Lectionary that we have it this year.
12:1 God now speaks top both Moses and Aaron.  What about Mariam?
12:2 What month?  I think Israel recognized at least two calendars, one civil/religious and the other agricultural. How many ways do contemporary Christians tell and mark time?
12:3 Why a lamb?
12:4 How many people does it take to eat a lamb?
12:5 Why without blemish? From the sheep or the goats?
12:6 Why keep it four days? Or was it kept only three days if it was slaughtered at twilight?
12:7 I wonder what was dome with the blood that was not put on the doorposts and lintel.
12:8 Why unleavened bread and bitter herbs?
12:9 I can understand the prohibition about not eating any raw lamb but why not boiled? Why roasted whole?
12:10 Do not let anything remain until the morning!  But if anything does remain until the morning, burn it. Why?
12:11 This sounds like the original fast food.
12:12 What is the irony here?  Why is judgment executed on the gods of Egypt rather than upon Pharaoh? Why are creatures other than humans affected?
12:13 Is the blood a sign for the whole congregation of Israel or a sign for God? Are creatures other than humans also saved by the LORD passing over?
12:14 Do “day of remembrance”, “a festival”, and “a perpetual ordinance” all mean the same thing?

149:1 What is a “new song” and what is the difference between a “new song” and any other sort of song? How shall PC(USA) Presbyterians, introducing the new hymnal Glory To God, read this passage?
149:2 Is there any difference between “Israel” and “the children of Zion” or is this just an expression of Hebrew poetry? How easily do Christians refer to the same thing(s) with different words?
149:3 When was the last time people worshiping in your congregation praised God’s name with dancing?  When was the last time you heard a tambourine (or a lyre) in worship?
149:4 I like the image of God taking pleasure in me.
149:5 Did people really sing for joy on their couches?
149:6 I like the imager of singing but not swashbuckling.
149:7 I do not like the way this Psalm has progressed from singing a new song of praise to using swords to execute vengeance and punishment.
149:8-9 I do not like the militaristic imagery as this is beginning to sound like the call a holy war. How shall we deal with this in light of the history of the Crusades and current Islamic terrorism?

13:8 Here is a solution to our personal and national debt!
13:9 Of all the commandments, even all the ten commandments, why are these four mentioned?
13:10 Can we forget the commandments as long as we love our neighbor?
13:11 What time is it? “For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers” is logically a true statement unless there is no salvation. The future is always growing closer to the present no matter how far away the future may be.
13:12 What are the works of darkness?  What is the armor of light? Can the Dead Sea Scrolls help us as we interpret this passage?
13:12-13 Is the assumption that some types of behavior are more typically engaged in at night and refrained from during the day?
13:13 May we logically assume that “reveling and drunkenness, debauchery and licentiousness, quarreling and jealousy” are among (or all of) the works of darkness?
13:14 Is putting “on the Lord Jesus Christ” is the antithesis of gratifying desires of the flesh”? 

18:15 How does someone “sin” against you? How might Family Systems Theory inform of interpretation and application of this verse?
18:16 What “word” are these “witnesses” confirming?
18:17 What does it mean for church member to be “as a Gentile and a tax collector”? This is beginning to sound like a church disciplinary process.
18:18 Have we heard these words before, in another context? What is the meaning of binding and loosing?
18:19 Just two? Anything? Is this an example of hyperbole? What if two different groups of Christians agree in the group but each group takes the opposite position of the other group?
18:20 What does it mean to “gather in my name”?

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Churchof Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at 11:00 AM.  


nese said...

I enjoyed reading your ruminations and pondering your questions. The Passover is always fascinating to me. God gives such precise detail on how and when it is to celebrated. I realize it is a foreshadowing of Jesus' sacrifice and our salvation through it, but I always wonder why Christians don't observe the Passover. Does the Eucharist replace the Passover?
What do you mean in your question regarding Rom 13:12 about the Dead Sea Scrolls?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

John Edward Harris said...

Thanks, nese.

I think that from a theological standpoint the Eucharist does indeed replace the Passover. Ever since the Church became predominately a Gentile movement the Passover lost its cultural and ethnic significance.

Romans 13:12 uses night/day and darkness/light language. I think one of the Dead Sea Scrolls uses children of light/children of darkness language. I wonder if Paul was influenced by some of the same theology and theological expressed in that scroll.