Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, June 12, 2016, the Eleventh 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.

21:1 Later after what? What is a Jezreelite? What do we know about King Ahab?
21:2 Is this a form of Eminent domain?
21:3 What is so special about an ancestral inheritance?
21:4 Why was Ahab so affected?
21:5 What do we know about Jezebel?
21:6 Note that Ahab does not mention Naboth’s reason for refusal.
21:7 I am wondering who is REALLY governing Israel.
21:8 I wonder if Ahab was aware of his wife’s activity.
21:9 What does it mean to be seated at the head of an assembly?
21:10 Behind every evil ruler is an even more evil spouse?
(21:11) Did they know Jezebel was behind this or did they really think Ahab wanted this done?
(21:12) They followed instructions well.
(21:13) Justice can not only be blind but perverted. What is the significance of there being two scoundrels?
(21:14) Did they really send to Jezebel or did they think they were sending to King Ahab?
21:15 It does appear that up to this point Ahab has been innocent of any crime.
21:16 What gave Ahab the right to confiscate the land of a dead man?
21:17 How does the “word of the LORD” come to Elijah. What is a Tishbite?  This is perhaps an archetypal example of someone called to speak truth to power.  Elijah the Tishbite is about to take a bite out of the tush of King Ahab. (Yes, that is an original play on words.  If it works for you, use it.)
21:18 I wonder how Elijah felt about these instructions.
21:19 Why is the LORD judging Ahab when it seems that Jezebel is the guilty party.
21:21a Who is speaking here, Elijah, the LORD, or a mixture?  Why the shift from “you” to “Ahab”? 

5:1 Sometimes our sighs are too deep for words and better express our needs than words can. How shall we hear this plea?
5:2 How shall we read this psalm, as the plea of Naboth?  Elijah?  Anyone and everyone who is trodden under the boots of tyranny or find themselves buried by bureaucracy?
5:3 What is so special about the morning? The language suggests a supplicant appearing before a judge.
5:4 In my mind, wickedness and divinity are mutually exclusive.
5:5 Is the LORD really capable of hate?
5:6 If this is true, why is there so much deceit, violence, and falsehood in the world?
5:7 What does it mean to be “in awe” of the LORD?  How often do you find yourself in such a posture?
5:8 It is often hard enough to follow God’s ways.  The least the LORD can do is make those ways straight so there is no moral ambiguity.  But we live in a world that is rarely black and white and are often confused as to which way is God’s way.

2:15 Who are the “we” Paul is speaking for?  Does his statement suggest that Gentiles are “sinners” simply because they are Gentiles?
2:16 How does Paul know this? Is there any way to read this without thinking “justification by faith”?
2:17 What “effort” is Paul talking about?
2:18 What might be built up that were once torn down?
2:19 How did Paul die to the law through the law? How has Paul been crucified with Christ?
2:20 Is there any way to read “who loved me and gave himself for me” without automatically thinking of theories of the Atonement?
2:21 Impeccable logic.

7:36 I wonder which one of the Pharisees extended the invitation. (7:40 tells us it was Simon.)
7:37 What does it mean that the woman was a “sinner”?  Why is it mentioned?  What does it matter?  Is there anything special about alabaster jars? Why was she admitted into the house?
7:38 And Jesus just let her do this?
7:39 If the Pharisee said this to himself, how do we know what he said or was thinking?  Could this be a constructed story rather than the report of an actual historical event?
7:40 In spite of his doubts, Simon calls Jesus “teacher”.
7:41 What is a denarii? Does its value matter?
7:42 Can love be bought by forgiveness of debt?
7:43 This is just common cents, I mean sense.
7:44-46 This sounds like an indictment of Simon but it could also mean that Simon had sinned far less than the woman.
7:47 If you are going to sin anyway, you might as well sin boldly in order to be forging much and therefore to love God much.
7:48 But in 7:47 we were already told her sins had been forgiven. Does this statement reflect Jesus forgiving sin or recognizing her already forgiven state?
7:49 So the issue is that Jesus forgives sins, not how many he forgives, in spite of 7:47?
7:50 What was the woman’s faith that saved her? Saved her from what? Is there a difference between having one’s sins forgiven and being saved?
8:1 What is the difference between “proclaiming” and “bringing” the good news of the kingdom of God?
8:2 The woman introduced in 7:37 is not named, so why do we jump to conclusions and link her to “Mary, called Magdalene”?
8:3 So these woman have been paying the bills?  Times have not changed much. While these three women, and perhaps many other women, were not numbered among “the twelve” they very well could still have been considered disciples.

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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