Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, September 25, 2016, the Twenty-Sixth 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.

32:1 Why are the references to the reigns of two kings significant?  What year was this?
32:2 Who was the king of Babylon and why was his army besieging Jerusalem? 
32:3a What had Jeremiah done to provoke King Zedekiah to confine him?
32:6 How did Jeremiah know and how does anyone know when the word of the LORD comes to them?
32:7 What is the right of redemption? Where is Anathoth?
32:8 What and where is the land of Benjamin? What is the significance of this real estate transaction?
32:9 What is the contemporary value of seventeen shekels of silver?
32:10 I think it is amazing what Jeremiah was able to do while confined.
32:11 Why all this documentation?
32:12 Why are all these people and witnesses mentioned?
32:13 This must be one of the shortest verses in the Hebrew Scriptures.
32:14 What a significant archeological find this would be! I can imagine the sequel now” Indiana Jones and the Lost Deed of Jeremiah”
32:15 How can contemporary real estate purchases be theological statements? Perhaps we need to be purchasing real estate in depressed and distressed neighborhoods. Oh, I guess that is gentrification!

91:1 How is a shadow a shelter?  If the Almighty does not have a physical body, how does it cast a shadow? Might this be metaphorical language? What is the deeper meaning of “Most High”?
91:2 How is a refuge and fortress like a shelter and a shadow? Note that both a refuge and a fortress are defensive, not offensive. When I read about refuges in the Bible I think of National Wildlife Refuges.
91:3 Who is the fowler? What might the deadly pestilence refer to?
91:4 God has pinions?  God has wings? Raptors, like eagles, have pinions. Hens do not have pinions.  What is a buckler?
91:5 Why is terror associated with the night? Why am I thinking of Dylan Thomas?
91:6 Rather than a chiastic structure we have 91:6 parallel to 91:5, ABAB.
91:14 Who is speaking?  Has the voice changed? What does it mean to “know a name”?
91:15 What do being rescued and being honored have in common?
91:16 What does “salvation” mean in the context of the Psalms?

6:6 What is godliness? Is great gain the only motivation to strive to be godly?
6:7 So the person with the most toys at the end of the day does not get to take their toys with them! I cannot help but think of Luke 12:13-21.
6:8 Would you, or most Americans, be content with only food and clothing? How much food and clothing do we need to be content?
6:9 Is there a difference between being rich and wanting to be rich? When it comes to being rich, how much is enough?
6:10 It is not money but the love of money that is the root of all evil. How do we reconcile this and the preceding verse with the capitalism?  Why must the desire to be rich lead one away from the faith?
6:11 I have a hunch this was not intended to be an all-inclusive, exhaustive list.
6:12 I have problems with the “fight” metaphor.  Is there another metaphor that would suffice?  How about “Climb the good climb of faith”? Note that “witnesses” are again mentioned, as in Jeremiah 32:10.
6:13 Is it a problem that this is not Trinitarian?
6:14 What commandment?  What does it mean for our Lord Jesus Christ to be manifested?
6:15 Who will bring this about?
6:16 What is “unapproachable light”? Who is it that no one has ever seen or can see?
6:17 Why do we not enjoy everything God provides us with? Are you surprised that the rich are not commanded to distribute their riches to the poor? What about Matthew 19:20-22 and Luke 18:21-23?
6:18 This sounds like the beginning of a stewardship sermon.
6:19 What life is not life?

16:19 What is the significance of being dressed in purple?  There seems to be an almost seamless transition from the Second Reading to the Gospel. Note that the rich man is not identified by name.
16:20 Note that the poor man IS identified by name. Is this the same Lazarus in John 11?
16:21 Is this an example of trickle-down economics in the New Testament era? Why am I thinking of Matthew 15:26-27 and Mark 7:27-28?
16:22 Note that the poor man is carried away by angels while the rich man is simply buried.
16:23 What and where is Hades. Why was the rich man being tormented?
16:24 How does this verse feed into popular and contemporary notions of hell?
16:25 I am surprised Abraham referred to the dead rich man as “child”. I think this is just another example of the reversals we find in Scripture, reversals lie the first shall be last the last shall be first, the rich will become poor and the poor will become rich, and so on.
16:26 How could the rich man converse with Abraham if a great chasm exists between them?
16:27 Note that even in his torment the rich man refers to Abraham as “father”.
16:28 Is there any significance to the number five?
16:29 Moses and the Prophets represent two of the three divisions of the Hebrew canon. Should we not also listen to the Writings?
16:30 This sounds like prefiguration.
16:31 Do I detect some prejudice toward Judaism? Is there no hope or promise her? This sounds like an admonition only.

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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