Friday, April 22, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, May 1, 2016, the Sixth Sunday of Easter (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.

16:9 Was this a dream or a vision?  Does it make a difference?  How many visions has Paul now experienced? Where is Macedonia and where was Paul when he saw this vision?
16:10 What is the meaning of “immediately”? What would Paul need to cross over in order to go to Macedonia? Note the plural “us”!
16:11 Who is “we”?  Who is telling this story?  What do we know about Troas, Samothrace, and Neapolis?
16:12 What do we know about Philippi in addition to what we are told in this verse? Does it make any difference that Philippi is a Roman colony?
16:13 What is “a place of prayer”?  Why might it have been outside the gate? Where there no men gathered there? 
16:14 What is a “worshiper of God”?  What do we know about Thyatira?  Is there any significance to Lydia being a dealer in purple cloth?  How does the Lord open the heart?  Was Lydia spiritual but not religious?  Was she “a seeker”?
16:15 Who were in Lydia’s household and why were they all baptized?  Consider Acts 11:14 from last week’s Lectionary Readings. Might Lydia’s invitation to Paul and those with him to stay in  her home be a bit scandalous?

67:1 The “us” makes this a communal rather than a personal psalm.  What does it mean for God’s face to shine on someone?  What is “The Aaronic blessing”? How do you handle “Selah”?
67:2 Is God’s way the same as God’s saving power, or am I reading too much into the parallelism of the Hebrew Poetry? Note that 67:1 seems addressed to worshipers while 67:2 is addressed to God.
67:3 Why the plural “peoples” rather than the singular “people”?
67:4 Is there a difference between “nations” and “peoples”?
67:5 I hear a refrain that could be adapted for use as a Call to Worship.
67:6 What is the “increase” yielded by the earth? It seems the psalmist shifts from addressing God to addressing worshipers.
67:7 What is the meaning of “all the ends of the earth”? How many ends does the earth have? How can they revere God?

21:10 What is the meaning of “in the spirit”?  Who carried the narrator away?  What great, high mountain might the narrator have been carried away to? How could Jerusalem come down out of heaven?
21:22 Was the author writing before or after the destruction of the temple? And the Lord Almighty and the Lamb be a temple?
21:23 Maybe the city does not need the light of the sun or moon, but what about their gravitational pull?
21:24 It sounds like this Jerusalem is like a beacon.
21:25 What do open gates symbolize?
21:26 What is the glory and honor of the nations?
21:27 What is the Lamb’s book of life?
22:1 Where did the angel come from?  Are there any rivers in contemporary Jerusalem?  What is the water of life? Are God and the Lamb sitting on a single throne?
22:2 This city is beginning to resemble Venice more than Jerusalem. How is a tree on “either” side of a river?  What kind of tree has twelve kinds of fruit?  How can leaves heal? Let’s see, 12 fruits x 12 months = 144 individual piece of fruit,
22:3 Servants will worship the singular whom?
22:4 Other than names, what is traditionally on foreheads?
22:5 Who are “they” who will reign?

This week’s Lectionary offers the choice of one of two Readings from John. How will you decide which one to use?
14:23 Whom did Jesus answer? Is God’s love conditional or unconditional?
14:24 Is it logical to conclude that if a person keeps Jesus’ words that they will also love Jesus? Is this verse anti-Semitic?
14:25 How could Jesus say these things if he were not with them? Who is “you”?
14:26 What is the meaning of “Advocate” apart from the Holy Spirit? Why is “Advocate” capitalized?  Why might anyone need or want an Advocate? What is the difference between teaching and reminding? Will the Advocate give additional or new teaching in addition to what Jesus already taught?
14:27 “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” is one of my favorite verses in all of Christian Scripture.  I often read this sentence from Scripture at a Service of Witness to the Resurrection and/or at the graveside.  Is fear a form of doubt or lack of faith?
14:28 Why the “if”? Did Jesus think those to whom he was speaking loved him or not?
14:29 Can they not believe now? Why would they not believe until after this occurs?

Or

5:1 After what? Which festival might this have been? Does it matter?
5:2 What and where is the Sheep Gate? What is the meaning of Beth-zatha? Is the fact that this pool had five porticoes significant? What is a portico?
5:3 Paralyzed?
(5:4) What are you going do with the questionable 4th verse? If you choose to use it, how will you handle that a paralyzed person would not be able to step into the pool?
5:5 Is the number thirty-eight significant. This man would be older than Jesus.
5:6 Why would Jesus ask such a question?
5:7 What, in essence, is the problem?
5:8 What is the meaning of Jesus’ proclamation?
5:9 What is the significance of “at once”? So what that it was the Sabbath?

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. This Sunday I will be preaching and leading worship at The Richmond United Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Ohio. The service begins at 11:00 AM.

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