Friday, February 19, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, February 28, 2016, the Third Sunday in Lent (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.

55:1 I love the “waters”, “wine and milk”, and “bread” imagery.  It is tactile and sensual.  It also lends itself to supporting the celebration of both sacraments.  What “waters” does the author have in mind, however? How will this preach in Flint, MI? How does one buy if one has no money?
55:2 Does this lead to an indictment of our consumer society? What truly satisfies you? Can money buy it? How do we listen to God?
55:3 Can simply listening lead to life?
55:4 Seeing is something we can all practice more of when it comes to our relationship with God. How was David a witness?
55:5 How do we call that which we do not know? “The LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel: reminds me of “A Brief Statement of Faith-Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
55:6 When might the LORD not be found?  Where can the LORD be found today?
55:7 This could be used as a Call to Confession.
55:8-9 This is one of my favorite Psalm passages. I think these verses undergird contemplative prayer and apophatic spirituality as well as the hubris of pretending to make definitive theological pronouncements.

63:1 I love this imagery. Does your soul thirst for God? Have you ever nearly fainted from thirst for God? I am not sure we can truly appreciate this verse and this imagery outside the desert environment of the Sinai and Palestine.
63:2 What did the Psalmist see? I wonder what God looks like?
63:3 How is steadfast love better than life? Juxtapose this verse with Isaiah 55:3.
63:4 Evangelicals and Charismatics more often get this than main line Christians do.  When was the last time you and your congregation lifted up hands to call on God’s name?  How about a little more embodied worship for the frozen chosen? How can we call on God’s name when some argue that God’s name should not be pronounced?
63: 5 I think the “rich feast” imagery becomes a little hypocritical and watered down when many will receive barely a crumb of bread and only a small sip of grape juice at the Lord’s Table.  Our liturgical actions often do not match our liturgical words.
63: 6 What is the meaning of “meditate”? How familiar are you with mindfulness meditation and/or contemplative/centering prayer?
63:7 What image and/or metaphor lies behind the “shadows of your wings”?  This verse reminds me of last week’s Gospel Reading.

10:1 What cloud and what sea? 
10:2 What is the meaning of “baptized into Moses”? How can one be baptized in a cloud?
10:3 What spiritual food did the people eat?
10:4 What spiritual drink did the people drink? What rock was Christ?
10:3-4 When I read these two verses I hearken back to Isaiah 55:1-2 and Psalm 63:1, 5.
10:5 How did God strike them down?
10:6 Is all salvation history but an example?
10:7 Where is this written?
10:8 What event is being referred to?
10:9 Is this verse alluding to Massah and Meribah in Exodus 17:7, or to something more?
10:10 Who or what is the destroyer?
10:11 Is this the case with all of Jewish Scripture or just the Exodus narrative?
10:12 Is this why we usually do not stand for worship, so that we will not fall?
10:13 What is the meaning of “testing”?  How shall we read this in light of the petition of the Lord’s Prayer “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”?

13:1 What does this verse refer to?
13:2,4 Does thinking like this at all exist today? What about when bad things happen to good people?
13:3 This sounds like a hell, fire, and damnation sermon.
13:4 Or more importantly, where they worse offenders than you?
13;5 Déjà vu (Luke 13:3). I think I would not use this as a refrain in a responsive reading.
13:6 What is a parable? What is a parabola?
13:7 Is three years long enough for a fig tree to bear fruit?
13:6-9 How does this parable address or respond to what came before?
13: 8 Well, shit! Why am I thinking of the Mark Whatney character in The Martian?
13:8-9 If it sometimes seems that preachers are slinging bullshit from the pulpit, maybe it is because they think the faith of those in the pews needs a little fertilizing.  It is not an original idea, but I resonate with it.

ADDENDUM

I am currently a Member at Large of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I am a trained and experienced Interim Pastor currently available to supply as a fill-in occasional guest preacher and worship leader or serve in a half-time to full-time position. On February 28 I will be preaching at the Follansbee, WV Presbyterian Church. On March 6 I will be preaching at the Richmond, OH Presbyterian Church, and on March 13 I will be preaching at the Ridge (Jewett, OH) and Scio, OH Presbyterian Churches.

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