Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, March 29, 2015, Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday) (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.

PREFACE: There is not only a dual emphasis/focus this Sunday but also several Alternate Readings. There is so much Scripture this day that I will not be offering a verse by verse rumination as usual.

The liturgy of the Palms Readings:
118:1-2 This looks like a liturgical introduction and could be adapted as a Call to Worship.
118:19-20 What and where are the gates of righteousness?
118:22 Where will we hear this again?
118:24 What day? Did the LORD not make every day?
118:26 Who comes in the name of the LORD? Where will we hear this again?
118:27 What festal procession is being referred to? What and where are the horns of the altar?
118:29 Hear the refrain of 118:1

11:1 Is there anything special we need to know about Bethpage and Bethany? Why would Jesus send two disciples rather than one?  Which two do you think he sent?
11:2 What village? How did Jesus know there would be a colt there?
11:3 Is this the only instance where Jesus refers to himself as Lord?
11:6 Was what Jesus had told them to say some kind of secret message?
11:8 What is the meaning of spreading cloaks and leafy branches on the road?  What might be a modern equivalent?
11:9-10 What is being quoted?
11:11 All he did was look around?

12:12 What festival?
12:13 Why did the people take palm branches? What is being quoted?
12:14 He “found” it?
12:15 What is being quoted?
12:16 Hindsight is often 20-20. How much do we not yet understand?

The liturgy of the Passion Readings:  
50:4 I take this verse personally. Note how this moves from teacher to one who is taught.
50:5 How does God opens our ears? Note that Semitic culture tended to be oral rather than visual.
50:6 Who is speaking?
50:7 What does it mean to set one’s face like flint?
50:8 Who is the “us”?
50:4-9a How does this passage inform our observance of Passion Sunday and how does our observance of Passion Sunday influence how we might read and interpret this passage?

(the link on the PC(USA) page was malfunctioning as of 3/22/15) 
These verses sound as if they could have been spoken by Job!
31:9 What was the Hebrew understanding of the relation between the soul and the body?
31:14 How might the psalmist maintain trust in God in spite of all the psalmist’s suffering?
31:16 What does it mean for God’s facet to shine upon us?

2:5-11 Note that these verses appear as poetry, not prose.
2:5 What mind was in Christ Jesus? I can have the mind of Jesus?
2:6 What is God’s form? IsPlato’s theory of forms at all helpful here?
2:7 Was Jesus born in human likeness or was he born as human? How are likeness and from related?
2:10 There are beings in heaven with knees?  What beings under the earth have knees?
2:11 Is “Jesus Christ is Lord” the simplest and perhaps oldest confession of faith?

This is an extremely long passage. You may want to shorten it to Mark 15:1-47 or even Mark 15: 1-39. My ruminations cover the shortest reading, 15:1-39
15:1 What do you know about all the different players; the chief priests, the elders, the scribes, and the whole council? How would the above relate to Pilate?
15:2 Did Pilate say that Jesus was the King of the Jews?
15:3 What things?
15:5 Why was Pilate amazed?
15:6 What festival?
15:7 What insurrection?
15:9 Why did Pilate refer to the King of the Jews rather than to Jesus?
15:10 Was Pilate’s analysis correct.  Was it jealousy that really motivated the chief priests?
15:15 How could Pilate have Jesus crucified if he was not guilty of any crime?
15:16-23 I think John Shelby Spong makes a strong argument for reading the crucifixion account, at least in its original form, as Midrash on Psalm 22.
15:16 What is a cohort?
15:17 Is there anything special about purple? I wonder where this cloak came from.
15:17-18 Where is the irony?
15:21 Why are Simon, Alexander and Rufus named?
15:23 Why wine mixed with myrrh?
15:31 What others had Jesus saved?
15:32 I know this is Mark, but I hear echoes of the ending of John.
15:33 Note the contrast—noon and darkness.  According to my calculations, Jesus was on the cross six hours.
15:34 Is Jesus quoting something? If so, what?
15:35-36 How might Elijah figure into all of this?
15:38 What symbolic statement is being made here?
15:39 What is the irony here?

See the above ruminations.

ADDENDUM
I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Churchof 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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