Thursday, March 10, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, March 20, 2016, Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday) (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.

For liturgical churches, this Sunday’s Lectionary Readings offers more Scripture than perhaps any other day other than the Easter Vigil, and far more possibilities for non-liturgical churches than they are used to. If one uses the primary Gospel Reading of Luke 22:14-23:56 there may be little time or need to expound on the reading in a sermon. Therefore I opted to ruminate on the optional and shorter Luke 23:1-49.

19:28 After he had said what?  Why does one always go “up” to Jerusalem?
19:29 Is there anything special we need to know about Bethphage and Bethany?  Which two disciples do you think Jesus sent?
19:30 What village was ahead of them? Are the details about the colt at all significant?
19:31 Was Jesus meaning to refer to himself as “Lord”?
19:32 How did Jesus know that the two disciples would find?
19:33 How many owners were there and was it common practice for a colt to be owned by more than one person?
19:34 The respond just as they wee told.
19:35 What is the meaning and/or purpose of throwing cloaks on the colt?
19:36 Why would people throw their cloaks on the road? This is beginning to look like a political, military, or sports team triumphant victory parade.
19:37 How many disciples were there? What deeds of power had the whole multitude of the disciples seen?
19:38 Where is this saying from?
19:39 Why were there would some Pharisee in the crown and why would they want Jesus to order the disciples to stop?  Stop what?
19:40 When was the last time you heard stones shout out?

118:1 Why do many Psalms begin with “O”?
118:2 This reads like a rubric or call to an antiphonal response.
118:19 Where are, and what are, the gates of righteousness? Who are the righteous?
118:20 We have gone from the plural to the singular.
118:21 How has the psalmist been answered?
118:22 What stone did what builders reject?  What is a chief cornerstone? What is its function? Juxtapose this verse with Luke 19:40.
118:23 What is the Lord’s doing?
118:24 What day did the LORD make?  Did the LORD not make all our days?
118:25 What does it mean to beseech?
118:26 Who comes in the name of the Lord? Do you recall Luke 19: 38?
118:27 Why bind the festal procession with branches?  What are and where are the horns of the altar? Might this and the preceding  verse lead one to think of Luke 19:28-40 as a midrash of Psalm 118?
118:29 This verse and other parts of the Psalm could be used as a responsive Call to Worship. See Psalm 118:1-2.

50:4 What is the tongue of a teacher like? Note that the teacher is taught by God.
50:5 Does The Shema have anything to contribute to our understanding of this verse?
50:6 Who is speaking?  How did this verse become associated with The Passion? Could we read The Passion narratives as a midrash of this passage?
50:7 What is a face like flint?
50:8 Who are the “us” that stand together?
50:9 Will the Lord God declare the prophet guilty?
50:7-9 I sense some sort of self-righteousness here that bothers me.  What about you?

2:5 What mind was in Christ Jesus?
2:6 How much should we focus on “form”.  I am thinking about Plato.  What if Christ had exploited equality with God?
2:7 Emptied himself of what?  Is there a difference between likeness and form?
2:8 Does it matter how Christ died?
2:9 What name is above every name?
2:10 What does the bended knee represent or symbolize?
2:11 Is “Jesus Christ is Lord” a minimalist confession?

23:1 What assembly?
23:2 Why is a religious assembly is making civil accusations?
23:3 What sort of answer is “You say so.”?
23:4 How many chief priests were there? Why does Pilate receive such bad press?
23:5 What does stirring up the people refer to?
23:6 What difference does it make if Jesus is a Galilean?
23:7 Why does jurisdiction matter? Was Pilate passing the buck?
23:8 If Herod had really wanted to see Jesus, what was stopping him? Was Herod seeking to be informed or merely entertained?
23:9 I wonder how long Herod questioned Jesus. Why did Jesus not answer?
23:10 What is the difference between the chief priests and the scribes? Who were they accusing? Why were they so opposed to Jesus?
23:11 Why would Herod put an elegant robe on Jesus?
23:12 What motivated or facilitated the changed relationship between Herod and Pilate?
23:13 Is there any group Pilate did not call together?
23:14 Is there significance to the “any of your charges” language?
23:15 Is Pilate simply covering his backside by referencing Herod?
23:16 Why have Jesus flogged in he had done nothing wrong?
23:17 What happened to verse 17?
23:18 Who was Barabbas?
23:19 Why the parenthesis?
23:20 Why was Pilate so intent in releasing Jesus?
23:21 Is this an example of mob rule?
23:22 Is there any significance to Pilate addressing the crowd three times?
23:23 Since when did a mob trump a Roman official?
23:24 I thought Pilate had already, several times, gave his verdict, a verdict different than this.
23:18-25 What might have happened if Pilate had not given in to the crowd’s sentiment?
23:26 Why make someone else carry Jesus’ cross?
23:27 So not all in the crowd were antagonistic toward Jesus. I wonder who these women were.
23:28 What does it mean to be a daughter of Jerusalem?
23:29-31 Is Jesus quoting from something? Where else might we find these saying?
23:32 I wonder what sort of criminals.
23:33 What is the significance of Jesus being crucified between two criminals?
23:34 Who was Jesus asking forgiveness for? Who was casting lots? What are lots?
23:35 Did not of the crowd other than the leaders scoff?
23:36 How is offering sour wine a form of mocking?
23:37 What is the irony?
23:38 Is this an example of more irony?
23:39 Why would a criminal also being crucified deride Jesus?
23:40-41 I think this is a multivalent statement.
23:42 Why am I thinking of Taize?
23:43 Do not get preoccupied with temporal issues. .
23:44 Is there anything significant or symbolic about three hours of darkness? Was this a miracle? A sign? A metaphor? A solar eclipse?
23:45 What purpose did the temple curtain serve?
23:46 Where have we heard this before?
23:47 What is a centurion? Was this centurion a Jew? A proselytize? A God fearer?
23:48 Why the plural “crowds”? What does beating one’s breast symbolize.
23:49 Who were Jesus’ acquaintances? Would the disciples be considered among his acquaintances? Why are the women who followed him singled out? Why did they all stand at a distance?

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.

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