Friday, May 13, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, May 29, 2016, the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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.

18:20-21 (22-29) 30-39 The Lectionary suggests that verses 22-29 may be omitted from the reading. Will you use them or not? How will you decide? What criteria will you use?
18:20 Who was Ahab? What do we know about Mount Carmel?
18:21 I wonder how many prophets there were in addition to Elijah. How does holding two opinions lead to limping? Does staying in the middle of the road lead to one being roadkill?
(18:22) Had Ahab, in 18:20, also assembled the prophets of Baal? Is there any significance to the number four hundred and fifty?
(18:23) Why bulls and not lambs or goats?
(18:24) Whom is being tested here?
(18:25) Why does Elijah allow the prophets of Baal to go first?
(18:26) Note the second occurrence of the limped (see 18:21)
(18:27) Why did Elijah wait until noon to mock the prophets of Baal?
(18:28) Why would a prophet cut themselves?
(18:29) I think the phrase “no voice, no answer, no response” is an interesting one. Could not Baal be speaking in the silence?
18:30 Why and when had been thrown down? We would know the answer if we read the optional verses.
18:31 It appears Elijah was a bit of a stone mason and contractor.
18:32 I thought 18:30 told us the altar had been repaired. Is this verse telling us how he repaired it? What is a measure?
18:33 Is there any significance to the number four?
18:34 What is three times four?
18:35 What is the significance of this scene?
18:36 What is the offering of the oblation? Why are Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah not mentioned? Does this sound at all like a self-serving prayer promoting Elijah’s credentials?
18:37  What does it mean to turn a heart back?
18:38 Note that Elijah did not, himself, attempt to light the fire.
18:39 What is the significance of falling on one’s face?

96:1 What constitutes a new song and why might the LORD want to be sung one? What is the meaning of “all the earth”?
96:2 How can one bless the LODRD’s name when the LORD’s name is not pronounced?
96:3 What are the LORD’s marvelous works?
96:4 How many gods are there?
96:5 I think those who created the Lectionary meant for this verse and Psalm to be juxtaposed with the 1 Kings 18:20-21 (22-29) 30-39 reading.
96:6 What is the difference between honor and majesty or are they synonyms and this is just Hebraic repetitive poetic construction?
96:7 Ditto glory and strength.
96:8 What sort of offering ought to be brought? What and where are the LORD’s courts?
96:9 Is earth referring to the physical planet, the hills and valleys, or to the people or even creatures that inhabit it?
96:10 What does it mean to say that the earth shall never be moved from the perspective of a Copernican cosmology?
96:11 Is there anything other than the heavens, the earth, and the sea?
96:12 How can fields exult and trees sing?
96:13 Is this Psalm presenting a promise or a threat?

11:1-12 Lectionary preachers do not have many opportunities to preach the opening verses of one of Paul’s letters. How might you take advantage of this opportunity?
11:1 Why did Paul need to defend his apostleship?
11:2 Did all the members send Paul, or did God the Father raise them? Where is Galatia and how many churches were there?
11:3 What do you know about Greco letter writing conventions of this time?
11:4 Were previous ages not evil? When did the present evil age begin?
11:5 What is the function here of “Amen”?
11:6-9 (Note that verses 6-9 do not come up in the attached link)
11:6 Who called the Galatians in the grace of Christ – God, Jesus, or Paul?
11:7 Well, let’s see, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Thomas, Q, Judas, …
11:8 What about preachers who later in life mature in their their theology or learn to look and think more broadly? What Greek word is translated as “accursed”?
11:9 Why might Paul feel like he needs to repeat this?
11:10Is this a mere rhetorical question? Preachers who seek to please and not upset the applecart - beware!
11:11 Is there any gospel of human origin?
11:12 What, when and where was this revelation?

7:1 Jesus had nothing more or else to say? What do we know about Capernaum?
7:2 What is a centurion? What types of slavery existed in this region at this time?
7:3 I wonder how this centurion heard about Jesus.
7:4 What if he were not worthy? (Recall memories of the characters played by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in Wayne’s World here.)
7:5 A centurion built a synagogue? Did he pay for its building or actually do the work?
7:6 Apparently some Jewish elders thought more of the centurion than the centurion thought of himself.
7:7 Speak what word?
7:8 Then why doesn’t the centurion tell his slave to heal himself?
7:9 Is this the point of the story?
7:10 Did we miss something, like the healing?

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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