Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, April 5, 2015, the Resurrection of the Lord (Easter Day) (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: Christ is risen!  He is rise, indeed! There are several possible combinations of readings for this Sunday. If one uses the Isaiah passage for the First Reading then either the Acts passage or the First Corinthians passage is used for the Second Reading. If the First Reading is from Acts then the First Corinthians passage is the default Second Reading. There are also two possible Gospel Readings, one from John and one from Mark.

10:34 To whom was Peter speaking? Would anyone expect God to show partiality?
10:35 What does Peter mean by “nation”? What does it mean to fear God (See my comments on Mark 16:8)?
10:36 What does Peter mean by “the people of Israel”? Is this the Gospel?
10:37 What is the geographic relation of Judea to Galilee?
10:38 Peter now seems to expand on 10:36. What is the difference between being anointed with the Holy Spirit and being anointed with power? What does it mean to be oppressed by the devil? How shall we handle possession and devil language and image in a post-Christian and post-modern world?
10:39 What does it mean to be a witness? In 10:37 it was Judea and Galilee. Now it is Judea and Jerusalem. Who are “they”? Why does Peter say Jesus was hung on a tree (rather than a cross)?
10:40 Note the passive: God raised Jesus. Jesus did not raise himself. What if God had not allowed him to appear?
10:41 Is this a proof text for the doctrine of predestination? What is the significance of eating and drinking? Is “rose” a passive or active verb?
10:42 Jesus was ordained? What does it mean to judge the living and the dead?
10:43 All the prophets? Really? Might Peter sometimes be prone to exaggeration?

25:6 What mountain? Watch for the restatement of poetic parallelism. Does “all people” open up an argument for universalism?
25:7 Why has a shroud been cast over all peoples?
25:8 Note that 25:6 talks about food and drink and 25:7 talks about death, and now we have death being swallowed up (like food?)! How will God wipe away tears?
25:9 What day? The Lectionary apparently views this as a passage that prefigures resurrection or in some way theologically informs our understanding of resurrection. How would this passage have functioned in the Hebrew Scriptures before Jesus?

118:1 By definition, does not “steadfast  love” endure “forever”?
118:2 This reads like common liturgy, that is liturgy for use in common, or public, worship.
118:14 What is the difference between strength and might? Does “salvation” mean something different in the Psalms than it does in the New Testament?
vs. 15b-16 Do you think that the Psalmist might actually be quoting a Psalm that never made it into the Psalter? What is so special about the “right hand” of the LORD?  Is this an example of a bias toward right-handedness?
118:17 What are the “deeds” of the LORD?
118:18 Are any punishments worse than death?
118:19 What, and where, are the gates of righteousness?
118:20 What is “this”? Is the Psalmist referring to a metaphorical gate or one of the gates leading in and out of Jerusalem?
118:21 What was the answer?
118:22 What stone might the Psalmist had in mind? How does this fit in with the rest of the Psalm?
118:23 What the Psalmist seeing something?
118:24 What day has the LORD made?

15:1 Is this anamnesis? When and where did Paul proclaim this?
15:2 How does one hold firmly to a message?
15:3 How did Paul receive what he is now handing on, and when did he receive it?  Where does Paul begin the narrative? Did he leave anything out?
15:4 Note the passive “he was raised”.
15:5 Why are the appearances to women not mentioned?
15:6 Is there are problem caused by the fact that some have died?
15:7 Who is James? Is there a difference between “the twelve” of 15:5 and the apostles?
15:8 Why does Pail consider himself untimely born?
15:9 While Paul considers himself the least of the apostles, he still considers himself an apostle.
15:10 Is “I am what I am” an allusion to the tetragrammaton? Has this phrase made it into popular English?
15:11 Who are they?

I covered this reading at the beginning of this week’s ruminations.

20:1 Who removed the stone? How and when was it removed?
20:2 Which disciple is “the one whom Jesus loved”?  Why did Mary say “we”? Why the shift from the singular to the plural? Who were the “they” who had taken the Lord?
20:3 Why is the other disciple not bnamed?
20:4 Was the other disciple faster, younger, or was Peter simply a slow poke?
20:5 Why might the disciple not have gone in right away?
20:6-8  What do you make of Peter seeing, but the other disciple seeing and believing? What did he believe?
20:9 How do you reconcile this verse with the preceding one? How could they not have understood?
20:10 This reads like a rather anticlimactic verse.
20:11 It seems the Mary is alone, so why the “we” back in verse 20:2?
20:12 Would you recognize an angel if you saw one? Why had the angels not appeared to Peter and the other disciple, or where they there all along but Peter and the other disciple did not or could not see them?
20:13 Do you hear an echo?  Now it is “I”, not “we”.
20:14 If you saw Jesus, would you recognize him?
20:15 I definitely hear an echo. Where would Mary have taken the body of Jesus?
20:16 Does it make any difference that at first Jesus addresses Mary as “Woman” but later addresses her by her name? Why does John translate “Rabbouni”?
20:17 Was Mary attempting to hold on, or already holding on to Jesus? As if Mary could hold on to Jesus after the ascension? How do we try to hold on to Jesus when perhaps we shouldn’t?
20:18 I think this makes Mary the first “witness” of the resurrection.

16:1 Who was James?  How does one anoint with spices?
16:2 I wonder what the women would have experienced if the women had gone to the tomb before sunrise.
16:3 Why were they wondering who would roll away the stone. This stone was most likely not a spherical stone but a round stone much like a stone grinding wheel.
16:4 What does this suggest?
16:5 Who was this young man? What does the white robe symbolize or suggest? Why was he sitting on the right side rather than the left or does it not matter? If it does not matter, why is the detail included?
16:6 Why did the young man think the women were alarmed? Note the passive voice. Jesus did not rise. Jesus was raised.
16:7 Why is Peter singled out? Why would the resurrected Jesus go to Galilee? Had Jesus told the disciples that they would see him, resurrected, in Galilee? Is this anything like a return to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry?
16:8 What does the verb “fled” suggest? Are terror and amazement the same thing? Are you familiar with Rudolf Otto’s concept of the Mysterium Tremendum (or Mickey Hart’s recording by the same name)? If they said nothing to anyone, then how did the details of their experience become known?

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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