Monday, March 2, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, March 8, 2015, the Third 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.

The Big Ten is not a college athletic conference!
This week I am reading this passage partially through the lens of Bruce Feiler’s 2001 best seller Walking the Bible because I finished reading it a few days ago and also recently watched a DVD of the PBS Documentary by the same name. How does what you have recently read or watched inform and influence how you read and interpret the biblical text?
20:1 How does God speak if God does not have a physical body with vocal chords?
20:2 Note that LORD appears in all uppercase letters. Why?
 20:3 Do other people have another god or other gods? What other gods was the LORD God competing against in Exodus? What other gods does the LORD god compete against today?
Can we have other gods after God? Lesser gods after God?
20:4 What is an idol? With all due respect to Plato, what would the form of something in heaven look like?  Is there any place other than heaven above, earth below, or water under the earth?
20:5 God experiences emotions?  What other emotions might God experience? Would God not punish to the fifth generation? 
20:7 What is rightful use of God’s name?
20:8 How do Christians justify worshiping on Sunday rather than Saturday? Can any day of the week be a person’s Sabbath if they are required to work on Saturday?
20:12 How do children honor parents?  Is this word in effect only as long as our parents are living? Is this the only word out of the ten that comes with a cause and effect promise?
20:13 What is murder? Is there a difference between murder and killing?
20:14 What are the corollaries to this word? Can one argue that if sexual relations are reserved for marriage then marriage must include sexual relations?
20:15 Define theft.
20:16 Is it permissible to bear false witness against someone who is not your neighbor? Who is the neighbor?
20:17 Does it bother you that this word seems to categorize a wife as a piece of property? Is it permissible to covet something that belongs to a person who is not my neighbor?

19:1 How do the heavens speak?  Is the Hubble Space Telescope a microphone for the heavens?Is there any difference between the heavens and the firmament?  Is the Glory of God the same as God’s handiwork?
19:2-4d What do you make of these verses?  What are they saying?  Is speech being poetically equated with knowledge?
19:4c-6 Do these verses presume a pre-Copernican universe? Why does the psalmist write about the sun but not the moon?
19:7-9 How many synonyms “law” are there in these verses? Is “fear” in anyway a synonym for” law”? Do these verses justify the lectionary pairing this psalm with the Exodus 20:1-17 Reading?
19:10 At the close of the market on February 27, 2015 Gold was trading for $1212.60 an ounce. Three years ago it was trading for $1,683.30 an ounce. Does that mean that the law of God is less desirable than it was three years ago?  How sweet is honey?  Was there any other known sweetener at the time of the psalmist? I find the second half of this verse to be very sensual.
19:11 What is the reward?  Does this verse lead to works righteousness?
19:12 Do not forget the advice of the oracle at Delphi.  Know Thyself. Are our faults sometimes hidden from us or do we simply refuse to acknowledge them?
19:13 Who are the insolent? So I shal be blameless if I stay away from the insolent?
19:14 Pet Peeve Alert!  This is not a Prayer for Illumination.  Displays of personal piety by praying a personal prayer aloud before reading Scripture have no place in worship or at the lectern or pulpit before preaching or the classroom before teaching. If you want to pray this silently before you preach or teach, fine, but I do not want to hear you pray aloud for yourself.

1:1 How is the message of the cross foolishness?
1:19 Where is this written? Note the chiastic structure here and throughout this passage.
1:20 Who is the one who is wise?  Certainly not Socrates! Who is the debater of this age?  Was Paul erecting a straw opponent or might he have had someone or something specific in mind?
1:21 Is Paul using wisdom in more than one sense? As an amateur philosopher I am feeling a little hostility from and toward Paul in these words. Is Paul’s proclamation foolishness because his proclamation is about the cross?
1:22 And how shall we read John’s book of signs in light of verse and argument? See John 2:18 What is wrong with wisdom? Is a stumbling block the antithesis of a sign?
1:25 God is foolish and weak?

2:13 What does it mean to go “up” to Jerusalem?
2:14 Why would anyone sell cattle, sheep or doves in the temple?  Why were money changers present in the temple?
2:15 Did Jesus drive out only the sheep and the cattle? What is the possible irony here?
2:16 Why were people selling doves? What is wrong with God’s house being a marketplace?
2:17 Where is this written?
2:18 See 1 Corinthians 1:22.
2:19 I doubt the Jews were asking to an after the fact sign.
2:20 Can we fault the Jews for hearing and understanding Jesus as they did?
2:21 Does this verse add to or detract from the account? Do Christians really need an explanation or is this an example of pointing out the obvious?
2:22 What was it about the resurrection that reminded the disciples about anything Jesus said?  What “scripture” did they believe? Is this remembering the same as the anamnesis of The Eucharist? Does this verse equate the word that Jesus had spoken with scripture?

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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