Thursday, September 8, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, September 18, 2016, the Twenty-Fifth 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.

8:18 Who is expressing this existential angst?
8:19 Is this anything less than a communal expression of doubt? Are the LORD and the King one in the same? Why the parenthetical question?
8:20 It is beginning to sound like a long, hard, cold winter.
8:21 How often has communal or societal grief manifested itself in you?
8:22 What is balm?  Where is Gilead?
9:1 Have you ever run out of tears?

79:1 Does “nations” refer to political or ethnic entities?  This seems like a blanket indictment. What period of Jewish history does this Psalm reflect?
79:2 This is pretty graphic imagery.
79:3 This starting to look like a horror movie.
79:4 How does this appeal to God’s honor?
79:5 Is there any difference between anger and jealous wrath?
79:6 What nations know God?  What kingdoms call on God’s name? Is the request to “pour out your anger” a poetic parallel to the “poured out their blood” of 79:3?
79:7 The nations that devoured Jacob like the wild animals of the earth have eaten the flesh of the faithful. I detect some chiastic structure here: A 79:2 B 79:3 B' 79:6 A' 79:7.
79:8 Blame it on previous generations.
79:9 Again, is this an appeal to God’s honor and reputation?

2:1 I usually think of supplications, intercessions, and thanksgiving as types of prayer. I wonder what Paul meant by “prayers”.
2:2 Do conservative Christians pray that President Obama may lead a quiet and peaceable life?  Did progressive Christians pray that President Bush would lead a quiet and peaceable life? I include a petition for the President, Governor, and all other elected and appointed officials in the Prayers of the People every Sunday I am leading worship.
2:3 Who gave Paul the authority and what gives him the right to make such a pronouncement?
2:4 Is there any difference between being saved and knowing the truth?
2:5 Why does Paul mention Christ’s humanity but not his divinity?
2:6 Does this verse preclude other theories of the atonement other than the ransom theory?
2:7 What is the difference between being a herald and an apostle? Why the “I am telling the truth, I am not lying” parenthetical remark?

16:1 Do we consider this a parable if the text does not identify it as a parable? Do you think this actually happened of that Jesus was just weaving a good moral tale?
16:2 This sounds like an audit, even a forensic audit.
16:3 What does this verse tell us about the character of the manager?
16:4 It sounds like the manager is looking for a parachute and hoping for a safe landing.
16:5 The manage must have been really incompetent if he did not know how much the debtors owed.
16:6 What is the value of a jug of olive oil? I wonder how the manager determined to cut the debt in half.
16:7 I wonder why the manger forgave only 20% of this person’s debt when he forgave 50% of the previous persons debt.
16:8 How could the master commend such dishonest behavior that financially hurt him? The “children of this age” and “children of light” dichotomy sounds somewhat apocalyptic of not Gnostic.
16:9 Is all wealth dishonest?  Is this a stewardship sermon? Is Jesus suggesting that his followers lie, cheat, and steal?
16:10 This is very good advice but I think it does not follow from the proceeding nine verses, especially 16:9. In fact, I think the entire parable, if it is indeed a parable, is poorly reasoned.
16:11 What does Jesus mean by “true riches”?
16:12 Are not most people more faithful with their own belongings than the belongings of others?
16:13 I imagine some slaves hated both masters if they had two.  What does it mean to “serve wealth”? How can wealth be a master?

ADDENDUM
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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