Monday, February 9, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, February 15, 2015, the Transfiguration 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.

2:1-12 How much does this reading influence our understanding of the Transfiguration and inform our interpretation of  Mark 9:2-9?  Can we read Mark 9:29, in part, as Midrash on this reading?
2:1 What is a whirlwind? Is there any significance to the fact that they were on their way from Gilgal?
2:2 What is the significance of Bethel?
2:3 Who are the company of prophets (see 2:5 as well)?  Why did Elisha bid them to keep silent?
2:4 Note the repetition of “stay here” and “as you yourself live” as in 2:2.
2:5 What do you know about Jericho? Note again the pattern of repetition, as in 2:3.
2:6 What do you know about the Jordan? Why this travel narrative? Why this continuous pattern of repetition and parallel structure, 2:2-3/2:4-5/2:6-7?
2:7 Is there anything significant or symbolic about the number fifty?
2:8 What is a mantel?  Is this a Midrash on Moses’ parting of the Red Sea?
2:9 What is a double measure of spirit?  Can prophetic spirit be willed or inherited? I would settle for half of Elijah’s spirit.
2:10 Does Elijah have the power to grant this request or does this power rest with God?
2:11 Why does a chariot of fire and horses of fire appear?  What is their relationship to the whirlwind? Note the appearance of fire in Psalm 50:3.
2:12 What are “the chariots of Israel and its horseman”? Why did Elisha tear his clothes in two?

50:1 Does God not summon from the setting of the sun to its rising?
50:2 What is perfect beauty? How does God “shine”?
50:3 Does this verse alone, with its “fire” and “mighty tempest,”  justify this Psalm being paired with the First Reading?
50:4 Who are God’s people?
50:5 Are we to assume from the First Reading that, at the time, only Elijah was faithful? Who initiated the covenant, God or the people?
50:6 How do the heaven’s declare God’s righteousness? I always ask the question when it appears: how do you deal with the “Selah”?

4:3 Is our gospel veiled?  What sort of veil is Paul talking about? Who are perishing?
4:4 Who, or what, is” the god of this world”? How does this verse illuminate our understanding of the Transfiguration and inform our interpretation of the Gospel Reading?
4:5 Why does Paul even have to write “For we do not proclaim ourselves”?
4:6 Where in Scripture did God say “Let light shine out of darkness”?

9:2 Six days later, after what?  Why does Jesus always seem to take with him Peter, James and John?  What is the meaning of the word “transfigured”?
9:3 Was this in the days before Clorox and/or Oxi-Clean? Have you ever seen anybody dressed in dazzling white?
9:4 Why Elisha and Moses?  What do they represent and/or symbolize?  If you had to pick two people from the Jewish Scriptures to appear with you, whom would you pick? What do you think they were talking about with Jesus?
9:5 Why might Peter have wanted to build three dwellings?
9:6 Note that Peter (singular) did not know what to say, for they (plural) were terrified. Have you ever been terrified?
9:7 What does the cloud represent? Where and when have we heard something like this before?
9:8 What just happened?
9:9 Why would Jesus order Peter, James and John not to tell anyone about what they had just seen?  Why is “Son of Man” used here but not earlier in this account?  Why do Peter, James and John have to wait until after the resurrection to tell people about what they experienced?

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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