Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, January 11, 2015, the Baptism of the Lord (Year B)

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.

1:1 There are several ways the verb can be translated.  Is it “when God created” or “when God began to create” or something else altogether?  What difference does it make?  Take a close look at the user notes in one or two study Bibles, or better yet, the gleanings and notes in The Torah.  Why is this passage paired with Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism?
1:2 What is the Hebrew word for “wind” and how else can the word be translated?
1:3 What, if any, is the significance of light being the first thing created?
1:4 What if God saw that the light was not good? How did God separate the light from the darkness?
1:5 Can there be day without night, or night without day?
1:1-5 How does one preach/teach this passage in a post Copernican and postmodern world, especially considering there is at least one other Biblical (and different) account of creation?

29:1 Who are the heavenly beings?
29:2 What is the name of the LORD? What is holy splendor?
29:3 What does the voice of the LORD sound like?
29:11 How can the LORD, revealed in the storm, bless people with peace, when storms are anything but peaceful?
29:3-11 How can one teach/preach using storm god imagery while recognizing that storm god imagery is not the only imagery applied to the LORD?  Sleeping under a small tarp in the wilderness during a nighttime thunder and lightning storm and hiking on a high wilderness ridge during a daytime thunder and lightning storm has greatly influenced how I read this passage.  What are your experiences of storms and how do those experiences influence how you understand this passage?

19:1 What do you know about Apollos?  Why does Paul mention him? Where is Ephesus? Was Paul surprised to find some disciples or was he expecting to find some disciples?
19:2 How could someone be a disciple and never have heard about the Holy Spirit? Why would Paul be asking this question?
19:3 Were these disciples actually baptized by John? If one was baptized by John and later became a disciple of Jesus, would they have to be baptized in the name of Jesus?
19:4 How did John’s baptism differ from baptism in the name of Jesus?
19:5-6 Did Paul baptize them with water or simply lay his hands on them?  What is the difference between being baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus” and being baptized “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit”?  What does it mean to speak in tongues?  What does it mean to prophesy?
19:7 “About” seems to be a relatively general term while “twelve” seems to be very specific and perhaps points to the twelve tribes of Israel and “the twelve” disciples of Jesus.

1:4 I much prefer the descriptive phrase “John the baptizer” rather than the more usual “John the Baptist.”   At least Mark agrees with Acts regarding a description of John’s baptism.
1:5 “All the people of Jerusalem” seems to be hyperbole.
1:6 Where does this imagery come from and what does it point to?  Might locusts refer to something other than bugs?
1:7 As I have asked in a previous rumination, what is so special about the thong of a sandal?
1:8 Might this be some literary foreshadowing, a reading developments back into the text?
1:9 When were those days?
1:10 What do the heavens being torn apart look like?  Is there a difference between the Spirit “descending like a dove” and “descending as a dove”?  Did anyone other than Jesus see these things?
1:11 Did anyone other than Jesus hear this voice? What did the voice sound like? Where and when will we read these or similar words again?

ADDENDUM
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.

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