Sunday, October 25, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, November 1, 2015, All Saints' 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:
Please note that while the hot links to the readings work the readings themselves do not seem to be complete the last I checked them. Some verses seem to be dropped from the beginning or ending.

26:6 What mountain? Does “all peoples” suggest universalism? Does this verse inform our understanding of the Eucharist?
26:7 What shroud? Could this shroud or sheet sometimes be as thin as gossamer?
26:8 Why were the people crying? What was the people’s disgrace?
26:9 Who will say this? Was there salvation before Christ?

Be aware that the above link offers only the odd numbered verses and not the even numbered verses.
24:1 Can this verse inform an environmental ethic?
24:2 Is this perhaps an allusion to the first creation account or does it simply reflect the thrier tiered cosmology of its day?
24:3 What and where is the hill of the Lord? How could you answer the Psalmist’s question?
24:4 Is it permissible to swear if it is not deceitful?
24:5 This is the second mention of Salvation (see Isaiah 25:9) and we have not yet heard a reading from the New Testament!
24:6 Who is in this company? How do you “Selah” when it is found in a Psalm?
24:7 How do gates lift up their heads? How are doors lifted up? Who is the King of glory?
24:8 Who or what “LORD” is being spoken of here?
24:9 Do I hear a refrain?
24:10 Who are the hosts?

5:1 My image what this verse describes is somewhat informed by the conclusion of C. S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series. What is the significance of the sea being no more?
5:2 Someone once pointed out to me that creation might start in a garden but it ends in a city. Who is the groom?
5:3 Whose voice is heard?  Where was God’s home before this?
5:4 I am hearing echoes of Isaiah 25:8.
5:5 Who was seated on the throne? What words are to be written?
5:6 What is done? Who are thirsty? Where is the spring of the water of life?

11:32 Which Mary is this? Is Mary blaming Jesus?
11:33 Why were the Jews weeping? When was the last time you were greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved?
11:34 Laid who? Why might they have wanted Jesus to come and see?
11:35 Yes, the Bible’s shortest verse!
11:36 Are tears always a sign of a close relationship?
11:37 Had Jesus ever kept anyone from dying? Are people doubting Jesus’ power?
11:38 Why is Jesus “again” greatly disturbed? Is this a prefiguration of Jesus’ resurrection?
11:39 When did Martha enter the scene? How did four days pass?
11:40 Do we know when Jesus told her this?
11:41 Why did Jesus look up? If this had taken place somewhere in the south Pacific would Jesus still have looked up?
11:42 Have you ever prayed a private prayer aloud so that people would hear what you were praying?
11:43 Was Jesus really calling Lazarus or was this also for affect?
11:44 Is anyone else thinking “Zombie”? If his feet were bound, how could he come out? If his was covered with strips of cloth how could he see where he was going? Are there perhaps multiple meanings to “Unbind him, and let home go”?

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.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, October 25, 2015, the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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.

42:1 What was the question?
42:2 What would you answer The LORD? Is this a variation of the classic question “Can God make a rock so heavy that God cannot lift it?”
42:3 Is Job eating humble pie?
42:4 Is Job planning to cross examine God?
42:5 What is the difference between hearing with the ear and seeing with the eye?  Hearing is a classic Semitic posture.  Seeing is a classic Greek posture.
42:6 Despicable me?
42:10 What is the moral of this story?  What lesson has been learned and is being taught?
42:11 The LORD had brought evil upon Job?
42:12-13 Are these numbers symbolically significant?
42:14 What do these names mean? Why are only the daughters named?
42:15 Did daughters usually receive an inheritance?
42:16 is 140 symbolically significant?  Should it be taken literally?
42:17 We have a happy ending but Job still dies.

34:1 Is this a promise, a vow, or an expressed intention and desire?
34:2 How does one’s soul make its boast in the LORD?
34:3 How does one magnify the LORD?  Is this a mini Magnificat?  How does one exalt the LORD’s name when the LORD’s name is unpronounceable?
34:4 Do we seek the LORD or does the LORD seek us? How does the LORD answer us today?
34:7 Who is the angel of the LORD?
34:8 How does one taste that the LORD is good?
(34:19) If the LORD rescues the righteous, why are the righteous afflicted?
(34:21-22) This Psalm seems to suggest that evil is still a force to be reckoned with and the wicked will succumb to it while God will redeem the righteous from it.
34:1-8, 19-22 It seems obvious why the lectionary pairs this Psalm with the Reading from Job, but does the pairing invite us to read this Psalm with blinders on?

7:23 What came before the “furthermore”? Who were the former priests?
7:24 Who holds the priesthood permanently?
7:25 Is there a change in emphasis from Christ as sacrifice to Christ as intercessor?
7:26 How is it fitting?
7:27 In light of 7:25, it seems we are back to understanding Christ as sacrifice rather than intercessor?
7:28 What is “the word of the oath”?

10:46 Who came to Jericho?  Is there anything about Jericho that makes it more than just a setting for this story? “Bartimaeus son of Timaeus” seems redundant. Is there any significance to their being a large crowd? Is there any significance to Bartimaeus being blind?
10:47 What do you know about the The Philokalia, Hesychasm, The Way of the Pilgrim, and The Jesus Prayer?
10:48 Who were the many and why did they order Bartimaeus to be quiet?
10:49 Why did Jesus have Bartimaeus brought to him rather than going to Bartimaeus?
10:50 Is there any symbolism in his throwing off his cloak? Was blind Bartimaeus following the sound of Jesus’ voice?
10:51 Did Jesus really need to ask this question?  What is the significance of Bartimaeus calling Jesus “My teacher”? Apparently Bartimeaus had not been blind from birth and therefore knew what it was like to see.
10:52 What faith?  How did it make him well? What does “followed him on the way” mean?

ADDENDUM
Some may be observing this Sunday as Reformation Sunday, in which case can the story of Bartimaeus serve as a parable of the Church? Was the church at one time able to see but had become blind to the truth? Was the Reformation’s reliance on sola scriptura like a regaining of prior vision that enabled the church to once again see, recognize, and follow Jesus?

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.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, October 18, 2015, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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.

38:1 What is a whirlwind and what was the was the LORD doing in one?
38:2 This almost sounds like a riddle Bilbo would ask Gollum. What examples are there today of words without knowledge?  What is the difference between a word with and without knowledge?
38:3 Whose masculinity was in question?  Is this going to be a trial or an interrogation?
38:4 And the answer is?
38:5-7 How would you classify these questions? How would you answer them?
(38:34-41) Who asks these kind of questions anymore?

104:1-4 Can you find all four classical elements—earth, air, water, and fire—in this reading?  104:1-9 How can an urbanized and industrialized Christianity, far from understanding the world in terms of the three tiered depths/earth/heaven, still find any meaning in this psalm?
104:24 There are fewer species on the earth today than there once were.
104: 35c I think the lectionary includes only “Praise the LORD!” and not what comes before it. What is the difference between “Bless the LORD” (104:1) and “Praise the LORD!” in 104: 35c?
104:1-9, 35c: Does this Reading call us to be more environmentally aware, or does environmental awareness influence how we might interpret this Reading?

5:1 Who are our high priests today? In what ways are you like a high priest? Does this language and imagery even make any sense in a postmodern world?
5:2 Who are the ignorant and wayward of our day?
5:3 The sins of some high priests or religious leaders seem more pronounced than others, yet all are sinners.
5:4 I think anyone who desires to be a high priest or religious leaders of any faith tradition, without a little fear and trepidation about actually serving as one, is headed for trouble.
5:5 Who said this to Christ, and when and where?
5:6 Where might this other place be?  Who was Melchizedek?  This has got to be one of the most bizarre, mysterious verses of Scripture and it is one of my favorite.
5:7 what is the difference between a prayer and a supplication?
5:8 Note that “Son” is capitalized.
5:9 How was Jesus made perfect?  Was he not perfect before being made perfect?  What is the meaning of perfection?
5:10 In addition to Melchizedek and Jesus, who else might have been or is a high priest according to the order of Melchizedeck?

10:35 Could anyone else other than these two have asked this question?
10:36 Did the Teacher not know their hearts and minds?
10:37 Had their Teacher granted their request, would the brothers have been content with where Jesus sat them? Were the brothers perhaps asking Jesus to settle a sibling rivalry?
10:38 What cup?  John’s baptism?
10:39 Were James and John being arrogant or were they being realistic? Does Jesus’ statement make sense in light of his previous question?
10:40 For whom do you think it has been prepared?
10:41 Is there more than math going on here?
10:42 To whom was Jesus referring?
10:43-44 The classic reversal. Of whom might Jesus be thinking?
10:45 Assuming Jesus s talking about himself, why did he always refer to himself as the Son of Man?  Does this verse rule out any but a ransom theory of the Atonement?

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

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, October 11, 2015, the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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.

23:1 Whom is Job answering?
23:2 What is Job’s complaint?  What is a “bitter” complaint?  Whose hand is heavy?
23:3 Whom does Job not know where to find?
23:4 Job is sounding like a trial attorney.
23:5 Is Job seeking understanding?
23:6 Why does Job think he would not be contended with?
23:7 Could an person who is not upright contend with such greatness and power?
23:8-9 Has Job really gone in all directions?  Like the Khan character in The Wrath of Khan, Job seems to be a two dimensional thinker.  In a Copernican universe, three dimensions might be enough, but in a post-Einstein universe, we must posit at least four dimensions.  Where do we look for God in a four or more dimensional universe?
23:16 Is Job’s terror anything like Rudolph Otto’s Mysterium Tremendum?
23:17 Does Job’s “if only” indicate the futility of trying to hide from God?

22:1 Where have we heard this before? It seems like we hear this at least every three years if not more often.
22:2 How many times have you felt this way?
22:3 I think this “yet” is a one word statement of faith.
22:4 Is this only an appeal to salvation history?
22:5 Is the psalmist perhaps trying to play on God’s emotions?
22:6 But I am not like my ancestors?
22:7 I have a hunch the psalmist is talking about more than just popularity.
22:8 Who or what is being quoted?
22:9 God takes us from the womb?
22:10 This reads as if life, if not faith, begins at birth, not conception.
22:11 How far is too far?
22:12 What is a bull of Bashan?
22:13 Why talk about bulls as if they were lions?
22:14 Are these mixed metaphors/images? What does it mean to be poured out like water? What does it mean for a heart to be melted?
22: 15 Give this Psalmist a drink of cool, refreshing water of life.

4:12 How can a word, any word, be living and active?  What does it mean to separate soul from spirit?
4:13 Were Adam and Eve still naked even after they attempted to cover themselves?
4:14 What is a high priest?  What is a great high priest? Why the plural “heavens”?  How many heavens are there? What confession?
4:15 Are there high priests who are unable to sympathize with our weaknesses?  Is there a difference between being tested and being tempted?
4:16 In the context of this verse, how do you define “boldness”? Who sits on the throne of grace?

10:17 Who was setting out, where was he setting out from, and where was he heading to? Is there any significance to the man using the word “inherit”?  What words, other than “inherit”, do we usually hear associated with “eternal life”?
10:18 What has the Church and Christian community not learned from this verse?
10:19 Why does Jesus refer only to the second tablet of the law rather than both tablets?
10:20 This man is a saint!
10:21 The conundrum: give away your riches and you will have what you lack.
10:22 Was he grieving because he gave up eternal life for riches, or because he gave up riches for eternal life?
10:23 Do you hear this, 1%? Is the kingdonm of God the same as eternal life?
10:24 Why were the disciples perplexed? The kingdom of heaven must be like flying with all one’s possessions in a carry on.
10:25 A few years ago I learned that is easier to drive a car through the Queens Blvd. overpass on the Jackie Robinson Pkwy than it is for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
10:26  Is the answer not obvious?  The poor can be saved.
10:27 So even God can enable a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God?
10:28  Peter, also known as the “open mouth, insert foot” disciple.
10:29 What relative is not mentioned?
10:30 When is “this age”? I can do without the persecution part. What and when is the age to come?
10:31 The classical Christian inversion.

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.