Monday, June 27, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, 3, 2016, the Fourteenth 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.

5:1. Where was Aram and who was its king? Why would the LORD give victory to the General of a foreign king?  What is the nature of this “leprosy”?
5:2 Apparently this young girl was war booty.
5:3 Does it make a difference that the prophet is in Samaria and not Israel?
5:4 Who was Naaman’s lord?
5:5 Is this an example of Old Testament international diplomacy? Are the silver, gold and garments gifts or a peace offering, a bribe, or what?  What would be its current economic value?
5:6 Since when do Kings cure leprosy?
5:7 At least this king, unlike previous kings, knows that he is neither God nor exercises divine like power. Why did he rend his clothes?
5:8  How did Elisha hear this? Who really needs to learn that there is a prophet in Israel?
5:9 Why did Naaman have such a large entourage? Why did Elisha not fear Naaman or Naaman’s king, as the king of Israel had?
5:10 Why did Elisha not even meet with the leper general? Why seven times? Why the Jordan? Are there any other examples in Scripture of the restorative powers of the Jordan, or of someone washing seven times?
5:11 Note “the LORD his God”! The LORD is not Naaman’s God.
5:12 Was this a rhetorical question? Why are some rivers, and some waters, more revered than others?
5:13 Naaman had some wise servants. As a pastor, I resonate with this story.  Sometimes it seems that people will take to heart major proposals but dismiss less significant ones. 
How might this verse inform our understanding of Christian Baptism?
5:14 What does this verse say about Elisha? What does it say about the LORD, Elisha’s God?

30:1 The Psalm Reading is usually chosen as a commentary on the First Reading.  How does this Psalm enlighten or expand upon the Reading from 2 Kings?  Whose voice might we be hearing in this Psalm, the voice of the leper general or the voice of Elisha, or perhaps both, or another voice altogether? “Extol” is not a word I hear a lot. What might be a more contemporary translation?
30:2 When did you last cry to God?
30:3 Is this a statement about physical resurrection?
30:4 How can we give thanks to the holy name of God when many believe God’s name is not to be pronounced?
30:5 Is it anthropomorphic to attribute human emotions to God? Regardless, this is one of my favorite verses.
30:6 Maybe this verse explains why Presbyterians are so often unmoved when change is needed. We are too prosperous.
30:7 What does it mean for God to hide the divine face?
30:8 What is the relation between crying and supplication?
30:9 Is the Psalmist attempting to blackmail God or reason with God?
30:10 Does the LORD ever not hear?
30:11 Again, on a personal note, this verse ranks right up there with 30:5. Unfortunately, we do not usually dance or show much joy in worship.
30:12 What does it mean when our soul is silent?

(6:1) By addressing his readers as “My friends” is Paul being honest or patronizing?  What transgressions might Paul have been thinking about? What is s spirit of gentleness?
(6:2 & 5) Compare and contrast “Bear one another’s burdens” with “For all must carry their own loads.”  What is the difference between a “burden” and a “load”? How does 6:2 follow from 6:1?
(6:3) Is anyone really “nothing”?
(6:4) What does it mean to test one’s own work?
(6:5) See (6:2)
(6:6) Is Paul arguing for just compensation, asking for a honorarium, gift or stipend, or something else here?
6:7 How were the Galatians, or at least some of the Galatians, “mocking” God?  How do we mock God today?
6:8.  How, or in what ways, do we “sow” to our own flesh and how, or in what ways, do we sew to the Spirit?
6:9 When did Paul expect the harvest-time to arrive?
6:10 Note that we (Christians) are to work for “the good of all” even though we may focus on the family of faith.  I am reminded of a phrase from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.
6:11 An example of Paul taking over from his secretary? What a find it would be to discover or unearth the original manuscript of Paul’s letter to the Galatians!  Maybe the search for and discovery of the original document could be another Indiana Jones sequel or a Dan Brown novel.
6:12 What is the pun here?
6:13 How do the circumcised not obey the law?
6:14 What does Paul mean “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world”?
6:15 So why so much verbiage about circumcision? Is “there is neither Jew nor Greek” a parallel?
6:16 “The Israel of God” sounds like an odd phrase that I have honestly never before noticed.  To whom does it refer?

10:1 Compare the parallels in the other Gospels.  Why send people out in pairs?  I think the argument can logically be made that Jesus intended to visit at least thirty five towns and places. What does this verse say about the need for planning and preparation?
10:2 Was Jesus wishing that he had more than seventy to send out?
10:3 This is not quit the pep talk I would have expected.
10:4 Why these instructions?
10:5 What is the meaning if this greeting/blessing?
10:6 How do you understand this “rest” and “return” of peace?
10:7 Is this just another economic imperative?  Compare this to Galatians 6:6.
10:8 How is this different from 10:7?
10:9 & 11 Regardless of the reception, the message is nearly the same:  “The kingdom of God has come near (you).”  How do we know when it is appropriate to wipe the dust off our feet in protest and to move on?
10:10 Is this a form of public of public humiliation?
10:11 See 10:9.
10:16 The logical argument is that whoever rejects you rejects the one who sent Jesus, which I presume is God.
10:17-19 How shall we interpret and apply these verses in the modern (or postmodern) world which often shuns “the spiritual” as make believe and unreal?  I mean, when was the last time a demon submitted to you or anyone else you know?
10:18 What was Satan doing in heaven in the first place?
10:19 How has this verse influenced those who appeal to the longer ending of Mark to defend their “snake Handling”?
10:20 Is there any difference between being joyful (10:17) and rejoicing?

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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