Monday, February 2, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, February 8, 2015, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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.

40:21-31 This is one of the longer readings we have seen in a while.  How does the fact that this is not prose affect or influence your interpretation and application?
40:21 Are these merely rhetorical questions? Listen for an echo in 21:28. What are the foundations of the earth?
40:22 Who is “he”?  I am surprised by “the circle” of the earth as I would have expected a flat earth with four corners. Why are humans compared to grasshoppers?
40:23 These images seem to assert God’s sovereignty.
40:24 What are the “they”? What is Isaiah talking about?
40:25 God is now talking. As in 40:21, are these rhetorical questions?
40:26 Now who is speaking? What are the “these”? What is God referring to?
40:27 Is there any other instance in Scripture of anyone speaking these words? What is meant by “way”? What “right” is being referred to and has God really been ignoring it?
40:28 I hear an echo of 40:21.  This sounds like a confession of faith. Does either of the Genesis creation accounts inform this this verse?
40:29 What faitn and powerless might Isaiah have in mind?
40:30-31 This is one of my favorite passages to read as part of a Service of Witness to the Resurrection and that fact probably colors my interpretation of it.

147:1 Why is it that some worshiping communities simply do not like to sing hymns and spiritual songs? How can the church carry on its tradition of musical praise when many public schools no longer offer music education and fewer and fewer people are learning to play the organ?
147:2 Who are the outcasts of Israel? What period in Jewish history does this reflect?
147:3 Are the brokenhearted and wounded the same people as the outcasts of Jerusalem?
147:4 I wonder what God has to say about all the organizations that, for a small fee, will name a star after someone and then register that name. I wonder what names ancient Jews gave to the stars.
147:5 This sounds like a confession of faith as well as an expression of praise. Compare to Isaiah 40:28.
147:6 Note the inversion, lifting up the downtrodden and casting down the wicked, who were presumably on top because of their wickedness.
147:7 See my comments for Psalm 147:1. What is our closest equivalent to the lyre?
147:8 God the cloud coverer and rain preparer.
147:9 Does God give food even to carnivours?
147:10 So God is not a horse racing or track and field fan?
147:11 What is the meaning of “fear”? Do you fear God?
147:20c This is always a good way to end a Psalm and in this case the last/ending line echoes the first/opening line.

9:16 What is the meaning of “if”? I can almost resonate with Paul’s assertion about woe.
9:17 I think Paul’s comment calls for some spiritual and psychological honesty by those who preach.
9:18 How do “compensated” preachers handle this one?
9:19 How did Paul make himself a slave?
9:20 How could Paul make himself  Jew when he was already a Jew?
9:21 Who were outside the law?
9:22 How did Paul become weak?  Can anyone truly be everything to all people? How would Paul have dealt with a non-homogeneous, pluralistic worshipping, spiritual, religious community?
9:23 How did Paul share in the blessings of the gospel?

1:29 Who were “they”? Where did Simon and Andrew live? Why are James and John mentioned?
1:30 So Simon was married? Who was and where was his wife?  Were he and Andrew living with Simon’s in-laws or were Simon’s in-laws and Andrew living with Simon? Who are “they” and who is “him”?
1:31 Who is “He”? What is the significance of her serving?
1:32 Is “all” perhaps hyperbole?  What is the relationship between being sick and being possessed?
1:33 I think “the whole city” is again hyperbole?
1:34 Did Jesus cure many or all? Did he cast out many or all demons? Is his not permitting the demons to speak an example of Mark’s messianic secret?
1:35 So Jesus was a morning person!  Why pray in a deserted place? Was Jesus alone?
1:36 Who were Simon’s companions and why were Simon and his companions hunting for Jesus?
1:37 Is “everyone” another hyperbole? Is Simon referring to physical or spiritual searching?
1:38 What towns neighbored Capernaum?
1:39 What if Jesus had proclaimed the message but not cast out demons? What if he had cast out demons but not proclaimed the message?  Must proclaiming the message and casting out demons go hand in hand? Why is there no mention in this verse of healing the sick (see my comments for Mark 1:32.

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. Please like The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz on facebook.

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