Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, December 13, 2015, the Third Sunday of Advent (Year C)

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.

3:14 Who is daughter Zion and why is she singing? What is the difference between singing and shouting?
3:15 Who made judgments against Israel?  Who were Israel’s enemies? Has the King of Israel, the LORD, not always been in the midst of Israel?
3:16 What day?  Who will say this to Israel? What do weak hands symbolize?
3:17 I do not like militaristic imagery being applied to God, it is what gave us the Crusades. I like the imagery of the LORD Singing?
3:18 Is worship at your church like a day of festival?
3:19 Are these oppressors the same as the enemies of 3:15? This sounds a preferential option for the lame, outcast, and shamed. Could this be applied to Syrian refugees?
3:20 At what time? Is the “that time” of this verse the same as the “that day” of Isaiah 12:4? Where are we now if we are not home?

12:2 What is the relationship between trust and fear? How do Christians understand thanksgiving for salvation within the Hebrew Scriptures? This verse reminds me of the Taize chant “In God I Trust”.
12:3 What, and where, are the wells of salvation?  Can water from the wells of salvation be bottled and sold?
12:4 What day?  How does one call on the name of the LORD when the LORD’s name is not
to be pronounced?  What are the deeds of the LORD?
12:5 Are sung praises preferred over spoken praises?
12:6 Zephaniah 3:14 called for singing aloud. Here Isaiah calls for shouting aloud. What is
the difference between singing and shouting? Who is the Holy One of Israel?

4:4 On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being lethargic and 10 being manic, how would you rate your religious/spiritual community’s ability to rejoice?
4:5 How do you define “gentleness”?  Near is a relative term.  How near is the Lord?
4:6 This must be Bobby McFerrin’s favorite Bible verse.  What is the difference, if any, between prayer and supplication? Is prayer only about requests?
4:7 Are “hearts” and “minds” all inclusive?  What about body and soul?

3:7 John the Baptizer (I prefer “Baptizer” over “Baptist”) appears in all four Gospels. As someone once noted:” You cannot tell the Gospel Story without John.” What do you think was the size of the crowds?  How often do evangelists insult those they are preaching to?  What wrath is coming?
3:8 What fruits are worthy of repentance? What stones? 
3:9 Does this verse contribute to the imagery of Dante’s inferno?
3:10 This verse is a preachers dream!
3:11 This is not good news for the 1% Maybe someone at the next presidential debate ought to ask each candidates to comment on this verse.
3:12 Why “even”?  Other than John and Jesus, is anyone else in the New Testament ever referred to as a teacher?  I think it is significant that John is addressed the same way Jesus would be later addressed.  Or maybe it is significant that Jesus is later addressed the same way Jesus would later be addressed.
3:13 Why and how would a tax collector have collected more? What do you know the collection of taxes in Jesus day?
3:10-14 What do you make of the fact that tax collectors and soldiers are the only two groups or people mentioned?
3:15 What if John HAD been the Messiah?
3:16 How does water compare with fire and the Holy Spirit?  Might “untying the thong of a sandal” have been an idiomatic expression or colloquialism?
3:17 What is a winnowing fork?  What is a threshing floor? What is chaff? Oh no, more fire! 
3:18 I wonder what the other exhortations were?  Did the above really sound like good news to you?

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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