Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, September 11, 2016, the Twenty-Fourth 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.

PREFACE: Fifteen years ago this day the United States and the world was traumatized by terrorists flying commercial airliners into the World Trade Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Will you and your community be marking this event in any way and how? Do today’s Lectionary Readings in any way speak to this occasion? The Jeremiah Reading and the Psalm seem to offer some possibilities if you dare go there.

4:11 Who is speaking? At what time?  What is the difference between “this people” and “Jerusalem”?  Is there any connection between “a hot wind” and the wind that blew across the waters at creation or the Holy Spirit?
4:12 What speed of wind is needed for winnowing and cleansing? If this wind is not for winnowing or cleansing, then what is it for?
4:22 The LORD sounds like a typical parent of adolescents. When will we grow up into adulthood?
4:23 How could there be no light in the heavens?
4:24 What might quaking mountains symbolize or represent?
4:25 What does the emptiness represent or symbolize?
4:26 I am sure someone will ask the question about how a loving, merciful, grace filled LORD can be filled with such fierce anger.
4:23-26 Note the repetitive “I looked”.
4:27 Why am I thinking of Smaug? What is the difference between a partial end and a full end?
4:28 How does the earth mourn?  How shall we read this verse in light of the fact that in other passages God changes the divine mind?  Does process theology help us find a way out of this potential dilemma?

14:1 What if a person says in their heart “I don’t know if there is a God or not?”  Was Pascal a fool? Juxtapose this verse with Jeremiah 4:22.
14:2 Where are the heavens (and where is God) in a Copernican universe? Why do humans have to seek after God?
14:3 Are “seeking after God” and “going astray” opposites?
14:4 Does knowledge always lead to doing the good?
14:4 What sort of knowledge is being asked about?
14:5 Are “the righteous” the opposite of “fools”?
14:6 Whom is being addressed? Who is confounding the plans of the poor?
14:7 What is the difference between Israel and Zion? If God is in the heavens, as suggested by the Psalmist in 14:2, then why look to Zion for deliverance?

1:12 Is Paul not being a bit presumptuous in stating that Christ Jesus has judged him faithful? Paul seems a little egotistical.
1:13 The old is over and gone.  Everything is fresh and new.  Is ignorance of the law really an excuse? What sort of ignorance might Paul have had in mind? What is the relationship between ignorance and unbelief?
1:14 What does Paul mean by “the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus”? Whose faith and love?
1:15 I hear liturgy here. It seems Paul has to be the first or greatest in everything!
1:16 Paul received mercy because he was the foremost of sinners? I cannot help but post this Luther quote: “God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” ( https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Martin_Luther)
1:17 I hear more liturgy.

15:1 Is “all” hyperbole? What is the relation between tac collectors and sinners? What is the difference between listening and hearing?
15:2 Who are today’s equivalent of the Pharisees and the scribes and what do they grumble about?
15:3 Are parables always told in response to criticism?
15:4 Does this passage give any comfort to the ninety-nine? Why am I thinking of Kirk saying to Spock “…the needs of the one... outweigh the needs of the many.” If I were one of the ninety-nine I would be upset. Would a sensible shepherd really act this way? Maybe God is not a sensible shepherd.
15:5 This reminds me of the iconic image of Jesus carrying a sheep on his shoulders.
15:6 Why am I hearing echoes of the Parable of the Prodigal Son?
15:7 Ergo Luther’s “Sin Boldly”? On the other hand, is anyone righteous?
15:3-7 Who is the lost sheep and who are the ninety-nine? God will search for the lost but the lost but not play hide and seek.
15:8 Why do I like this parable more than the one before it? Does the number ten symbolize anything? Is there any symbolism to the lamp? The shepherd lost 1/100 of the sheep and went looking for it. The woman lost 1/10 of her wealth and went looking for it. Many people today, upon dropping a penny, will leave it rather than picking it up. How valuable are we to God?
15:9 I wonder if the woman spent the found coin to celebrate its finding.
15:10 Why mention the angels here? Do our worship services express such joy?

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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