Monday, February 23, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, March 1, 2015, the Second Sunday in Lent (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.

17:1 Last week, we encountered Noah and Noahic Covenant.  This week, we encounter Abraham and the Abrahamic Covenant.  How do these two covenants inform our understanding of Lent and Easter? Abraham was only ninety-nine year old? Well, at least he was not one hundred years old!
17:2 Of all people, why did God Almighty choose Abraham?
17:3 Why does Abram fall on his face? Why do we no longer fall on our faces when we encounter God Almighty?
17:4 What is the meaning of “nations”?
17:5 Why does God change Abram’s name to Abraham? Note the use of the past tense “I have made you”.
17:6 Will Abraham be exceedingly fruitful or will his descendants be exceedingly fruitful?
17:7 In verse 17:2 God Almighty promises to establish a covenant with Abraham.  In this verse, the promise is extended to Abraham’s offspring.
17:15 Why does God have Abraham change Sarai’s name to Sarah?
17:16 What is the difference between a covenant and a blessing?

22:23 What does the psalmist mean by “fear”? Why does the psalmist refer to offspring of Jacob/Israel rather than Abraham?
22:24 Is the Psalmist the afflicted?
22:25 What is the great congregation? What vows will be paid?
22:26 Why “poor” rather than “hungry” if the issue is their being fed?
22:27 Remember what? Why “families of the nations” rather than just “nations”?
22:29 Is life being contrasted with death? How can the dead bow down?
22:30-31 Is this promise for the church as much as for Abraham and his offspring? How does one proclaim anything to the yet unborn?

4:13 Did only Abraham have faith, or did his descendants also have faith? What came first, the promise or Abraham’s faith?
4:14 This sounds logical.
4:15 Again, this sounds logical. Whose wrath does the law bring?
4:16 What does Paul mean by “the faith of Abraham”?
4:18 Is “hoping against hope” the same as “faith”?
4:19 Is hope or faith ever misplaced?
4:20 This sounds like faith is trust rather than assent to doctrine. Is distrust the opposite of faith? Is distrust the same as doubt?
4:21 God may be able to do what God promised, but does God always do what God is able to do?
4:22 What is Paul quoting?
4:23 How could anything written about Abraham be written for Abraham’s sake alone?
4:24 It seems Paul is now arguing that faith is belief rather than trust. How are belief and trust the same and how are they different?
4:25 Must one believe only that Jesus was raised, or that he died for or trespasses and was raised for our justification?

8:31 Why does Jesus not begin to preach this until Chapter eight? How many people in the pews understand “Son of Man” language? How much time should a preacher spend in a sermon unpacking “Son of Man” language?
8:32 Did Jesus not always speak openly?  Why did Peter rebuke Jesus?
8:33 Why did Jesus look at the disciples rather than looking at Peter when he rebuked Peter? What might be the multi-faceted meaning of “Get behind me Satan”? What are the “divine things” Peter out to be setting his mind on?
8:34 What cross? Is this the first time in Mark that Jesus or anyone else has mentioned a cross?
8:35 I think this is the kernel of wisdom in the husk of this passage. Was Peter seeking to save hi own life or the life of Jesus?
8:36 Is this anything like the Faustian bargain?
8:37 Is this a rhetorical question?
8:38 Who might Jesus have in mind when he refers to those who are ashamed of him? Was this warning only for those in Jesus’ day, or for the readers Mark was writing to and for, or for all generations? I can not recall ever being ashamed of Jesus but I have sometimes been ashamed of what others, including the Church, have done, and are doing, in his name.

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 on facebook

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