SUMMIT TO SHORE: Theologically and philosophically informed eclectic ruminations on everything between summit to shore, especially cycling, hiking and backpacking, kayaking, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, politics, culture, travel, poetry, and creative writing by John Edward Harris, a progressive Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Minister of the Word and Sacrament.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, December 21, 2014, the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year B)
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. FOR
AN UPDATED AND REVISED VERSION, GO TO THIS LINK
I recently got around to
reading Eugene L. Lowry’s Living with the
Lectionary (1992, Abingdon Press) and found this passage warning about
quick fix lectionary aids insightful. “The problem is that lectionary preachers
often turn to these helpful aids prior to having internalized the texts. When I
have inquired of lectionary preachers, how they prepare—the sequence of their
work—I find a trend. Often they read the text and immediately turn to the
published lectionary commentaries. They
may receive good advice, but altogether prematurely. In short, at the point in
sermon preparation when they ought to be internalizing the text and exploring
the many questions which might emerge, they are already finding answers to the
questions they have not yet raised. The result is a homiletical preparation
short-circuit.” (p. 25)
I think Lowry’s warning is
reflected in the way I prepare Lectionary
Ruminations 2.o. I first read the text and then consider what questions I
have or think it is important to ask of the text, perhaps make a few
observations and opine about the text, but I DO NOT CONSULT ANY LECTIONARY AIDS
as I write. Similarly, I think it would behoove readers of Lectionary Ruminations 2.o to first read the text and consider what
questions they ought to be asking and what questions the text asks of them
before reading Lectionary Ruminations
1:46b-55 You might want to compare this
with 1 Samuel 2:1-10
1:47 Whose soul magnifies the Lord? When
was the last time your soul magnified the Lord and your spirit rejoiced?
1:48 How was this servant lowly?
1:49 What great things?
1:50 What is the meaning of “fear”? Once
again, why am I thinking of Edwin Friedman?
1:51 Where has the Mighty One sown
strength? How have the proud been scattered? I find it interesting that
thoughts are associated with the heart. We usually associate thoughts with the
head or mind and feelings with the heart.
1:52 What powerful have been brought down
and how have they been brought down?
1:53 Do the hungry want good things or
good food? If the rich are sent away empty, are they still rich?
1:54 What is the meaning of “in
remembrance of his mercy”?
1:55 What promises? Why is Abraham but
never Sarah mentioned?
89:1 How can the Psalmist,
or anyone, sing forever and proclaim anything to generations?Is this nothing more than poetic hyperbole?
89:2 How firm are the
89:3-4 Apparently an
allusion to the First Reading. Does this
verse justify the lectionary pairing this Psalm with the First Reading? This Psalm is actually an alternate. Another
possibility is the Magnificat, Luke 1:47-55.
I have used the Magnificat the past few cycles but this year am opting
to use the Psalm 89. What is this verse quoting?
89:19 Who is the faithful
one? Note that the rest of the reading is a narration of the vision.
1:26 In the sixth month of
what? Why Gabriel? Why Nazareth?
1:27 Why a virgin? How can
we read this verse with 21st century sensibilities without reading
our prejudices back into the text? Why the house of David?
1:28 What does Gabriel mean
by addressing Mary as “favored one?”
1:29 Apparently Mary did
not know what Gabriel meant. When was the last time you were perplexed by a
greeting and pondered what it meant?
1:30 I think the phrase “Do
not be afraid” is the crux of this text.
1:31 Note that Mary “will”
conceive. She apparently was not yet
pregnant. Why name him Jesus?
1:32-33 This is quite a
1:34 A good question.
1:35 Is there a difference
between being called “Son of God” and actually being the Son of God?
1:36 Apparently Elizabeth
was between the second and third trimester. The way she is described reminds me
1:37 Could this be the key
verse of the passage rather than 1:30?
1:38 Where have we heard
“Here am I” before? What if Mary had not
let it be according to Gabriel’s word?
I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Church
of Cadiz, worshiping at 154 West Market Street, Cadiz, Ohio, every Sunday at
11:00 AM. May you have a Christ filled merry Christmas and be blessed with peace, wholeness, and happiness in the New Year!