Monday, August 8, 2016
Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, August 14, 2016, the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
5:1 Does this remind you of the Song of Solomon? Who is speaking?
5:2 What is the difference between wild grapes and cultivated grapes?
5:3 In this context, what does it mean to judge?
5:4 Is this a rhetorical question?
5:5 This sounds like a pretty severe judgment. Why would a vineyard owner do this?
5:6 Now any grapes that might grow will really and truly be wild grapes.
5:7 So, justice and righteousness are equivalent to cultivated grapes while bloodshed and cries (resulting from wickedness?) are the equivalent of wild grapes? What sort of grapes are we?
80:1 The Isaiah reading gave us vineyard imagery. Today’s Psalm begins by offering us shepherd imagery. Who is the Shepherd of Israel? What and where are cherubim?
80:2 Who or what are Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh?
80:8 Here is some vineyard imagery to juxtapose with similar imagery from the Isaiah Reading. How do we deal with the changing and mixed metaphors of shepherds, flocks, and vineyards?
80:9 What came first, Isaiah’s imagery or this imagery?
80:12 This reads like a specific reflection on Isaiah 5:5-6. Are both the Isaiah reading and the Psalm perhaps reflecting on a larger cultural and religious image popular at the time?
80:13 Are these allusions to anyone in particular?
80:15 What is the symbolism of the right hand?
80:16 Who are “they”?
80:17 Who is “the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself”? How can we not read this in light of Hebrews 11:2?
80:18 Is there a quid pro quo at work here?
80:19 What does God’s shining face symbolize?
80:1-2, 8-19 There are several images in this reading that can be employed to address God. How many can you identify?
11:29, 30, 31 Note the repetition of ‘By faith”. By comparison, what have we done recently “by faith”?
11:29 If there had been no faith, would the people not have passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry ground?
11:30 Is the writer suggesting that miracles rely upon faith?
11:31 Rahab had faith? What was the nature of Rahab’s faith?
11:32 I wish the author had taken the time to write more. Even though Rahab is mentioned, I wish more women had been named.
11:33-34 “By Faith” is replaced by “through faith”. Is there is difference? I find some of these examples a little too militaristic.
11:35 What is the world does “Women received their dread by resurrection” mean? What is a “better resurrection”?
11:36 Is the author now writing about Christian martyrs?
11:37 This is pretty gruesome. I wonder how children might hear this.
11:38 Who is the author writing about. This was at least two centuries before the advent of the desert mothers and fathers.
11:39 What was promised?
11:40 What does it mean to be made perfect?
12:1 The author has previously given us a long list of names to include among the “great” “cloud of witnesses” but I am sure the list is not meant to be all inclusive. What names would you add? What does it mean to be surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses”? Does this image send shivers up your spine and cause the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on edge? I think it should! How does this “great a cloud of witnesses” correlate with the communion of the saints?
12:2 Do we look to Jesus as the finish line, the leading runner, the prize, or what?
12:49 Who is speaking? What does fire represent or symbolize?
12:50 We had fire language in the previous verse. Now we have Baptism language. Is this baptism by water or baptism by fire?
12:51 Well, there goes our image of Jesus the peacemaker.
12:52 Do the numbers matter? What is the meaning of “household”?
12:53 So much for Christian family values. I wonder how James Dobson and Focus on the Family handle this verse. Note that there is no division based on sex or gender.
12:54-56 Apparently weather forecasting was a more highly developed art or science in Jesus day than was social critique. Do we do any better?
12:55 Why the weather imagery in this and the preceding verse?
12:56 So weather forecasting is more of a science than prophecy?
12:49-56 Shall we classify these verses as some of the tough, harsh, or troubling sayings of Jesus?
ADDENDUMI 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.