Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, October 9, 2016, the Twenty-Eighth 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 over reliance 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.

29:1 What an archeological discovery it would be to find this actual letter.  What is the meaning of “remaining elders”? Had some elders taken into exile escaped, died, been killed? Is there anyone in exile Jeremiah did not address?
29:4 Note that God had sent the people into exile.  Nebuchadnezzar had not taken them into exile.
29:5 Why are the exiles told to build houses and plant gardens?
29:6 Babylon is beginning to sound like the exile in Egypt?  How might this and the preceding verse apply to Christians—resident aliens—in a secular culture and post-Christian world?
29:7 Do you pray for your city every Lord’s Day?

66:1 What is a joyful noise?  Does “all the earth” refer to only people or to only to living beings, or to the fullness of creation? Whales can sing, but can rocks?
66:2 How does one sing to the glory of God’s name when God’s name is considered unpronounceable?
66:3 What are God’s deeds?  How do you understand the meaning of “awesome”?  Are you familiar Rudolph Otto’s concept of numinous in The Idea of the Holy or Aldous Huxley’s concept of mysterium tremendum in The Doors of Perception?
66:4 How do we read this in the light of global climate change? What do we do with “Selah”?  Pronounce it?  Ignore it?  Take it as a cue to break into a guitar riff?
66:5 Can we see all of God’s deeds or are some invisible? Does God have no deeds among non-mortals?
66:6 Is this the deed, or this is just part of a larger and more significant deed?
66:7 Note that God keeps watch on the nations and not just Israel.
66:8 This sounds like a call to worship. God might keep watch on the nations, but God is the God of Israel.
66:9 Is slipping feet a metaphor referring to death, or even extinction of a race and culture?
66:10 How and why is silver tried? What happens to silver after it is tried? What is refining dross?
66:11 Is this a reference to exile and enslavement in Egypt?
66:12 I think I know what “water” might refer to, but I am not so sure I know what “fire” refers to.  How might our understanding of this verse be influenced by The Shoah?  What and where is the “spacious place”?

2:8 Does “remember” mean only do not forget?  This is a pretty bare bones gospel. Note that Jesus was raised from the dead. He did not rise from the dead. What is the difference?
2:9 Where and why was Paul chained like a criminal?
2:10 This may be a verse particularly dear to the theological offspring of Calvin. Then again, election day is just over four weeks away!
2:11 How do we die with Christ?
2:12 If we endure what?
2:12-13 How can Jesus Christ both deny us if we deny him but remain faithful if we are faithless?
2:14 Who are the “them”?  What do you think Paul meant by “wrangling over words”?  I wonder what Paul would think and say about my Lectionary Ruminations. I’m sorry; Paul, but words have meaning. Words matter!
2:15 “Do your best” does not mean “be perfect”! Why would any worker have a need to be ashamed?  What does it mean to “rightly explain the word of truth”?  Why does the word of truth need to be explained?

17:11 Geographically speaking, where, in relation to Jerusalem, is the region between Samaria and Galilee.  Why does it matter?
17:12 I wonder why the village is not named. Maybe, years later, the disciples remembered this happening but could not remember where it happened. Is there any significance to the fact that there were ten lepers? You may want  to research leprosy in the Bible.
17:13 Why am I thinking of the Philokalia and The Jesus Prayer?
17:14 Jesus apparently did not lay hands on them, pray for them, or do anything else other than tell them to go and show themselves to the priests—and they were made clean!  What does it mean to be made clean?
17:15 All ten were made clean, but were all ten healed? Is being made clean synonymous with being healed?  Why would only one turn back, praising God with a loud voice?
17:16 Have you ever prostrated yourself at another person’s feet?  Has anyone ever prostrated themselves at your feet? Were the other nine not Samaritan?  What does it matter that the one who turned back, praised God with a loud voice, prostrated himself before Jesus, and thanked Jesus, was a Samaritan? Why am I thinking of a parable about someone helping a stranger alongside the road and the story of Jesus and a woman at a well? Thanking God should not be confined to one day, or one hour a week.
17:17 Perhaps someone knew the answer to the first question, but the second?
17:18 Is this a rhetorical question?
17:19 With this after the fact statement, it seems Jesus is simply interpreting what has already happened.  Did the other nine, who did not return, also have faith? Are we among the 9/10th of the 1/10th? Our faith should make us well. It should not make us ill. Toxic faith is no faith!

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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