Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, November 6, 2016, the Thirty-Second 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 over 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.

1:15b When did King Darius rule?
2:1 Do these dates matter? How does the word of the LORD come to a prophet?
2:2 Who are these people?
2:3 Are these rhetorical questions? How much time has elapsed between Haggai’s prophecy and the destruction of the temple?
2:4 What is courage?  Does the 1957 Pulitzer Prize winning Profiles in Courage offer any insight?
2:5 Is this spirit the Holy Spirit?  According to A Brief Statement of Faith – Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) “the Spirit gives us courage
            to pray without ceasing,
            to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior,
            to unmask idolatries I Church and culture,
            to hear the voices of people long silenced,
            and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.”
2:6 Why am I thinking of Paul Tillich’s The Shaking of the Foundations?
2:7 Did this ever come to pass?
2:8 Why does the LORD need or want gold or silver? Does this have any stewardship implications?
2:9 It sounds like the LORD is not only promising to make the Temple great again but greater than it ever was.

Why is there a choice of Psalms this week?
145:1 How can God’s name be blessed and praised unless God’s name if God’s name is not pronounced?
145:2 How can Christians bless and praise God’s name every day when most Christians probably only worship one day a week, if at that?
145:3 This sounds like a Call to Worship. If God’s greatness is unsearchable, then why do we engage in theological reflection?
145:4 Is this still true?  Is this a biblical mandate for Christian Education, catechesis, and faith formation? What mighty acts might the Psalmist had in mind?
145:5 How do you understand the word “meditate”? Could this be construed in support of meditative and contemplative prayer?
145:17 Do kindness and justice always go hand in hand?
145:18 Is the Lord distant to all who do not call on the Lord?
145:19 What desires? What does it mean to fear the Lord?
145:20 Must the Lord destroy the wicked in order to watch over all who love him? Can we assume that if someone is destroyed in any other way than by natural death that they were wicked?
145:21 This sounds like a restatement of 145:1-2. What is meant be “all flesh”?

Why is there a choice of Psalms this week?
98:1  Why sing a new song and not an old song?  What makes a song new? What marvelous things has the LORD done?   What does a metaphorical right hand symbolize?  Is this a right handed conspiracy?
98:2 What victory?
98:3 How can love be steadfast love and how can there be any faithfulness if the is no memory? Can this and the preceding “victory” language lead to a militaristic and triumphalist faith and theology?
98:4 Is there a difference between “joyful noise” and “joyous songs/praises”?  What about noise that is not joyful? What about funeral dirges masquerading as hymns?
98:5-6 I wonder how churches that eschew singing accompanied by instruments handle these verses. I do not mean to malign Bach, but why have we become so dependent upon the organ and piano while neglecting strings and brass?
98:7 Now I know why I like ambient music that incorporates natural sounds like breaking waves.
98:8 Is anyone else thinking of Julie Andrews?
98:9 Righteousness and equity do not scare me.  Do they scare you?

2:1-2 I wonder what Paul would say now about the coming of the Lord nearly two-thousand years later. Christians should not be shaken, but relieved, by apocalyptic visions.
2:2 Was someone else preaching and/or writing letters claiming to be Paul?
2:3 How were Christians deceived then and how are they deceived today?
2:4 Whom is Paul writing about? What temple is Paul referring to?
2:5 Do those whom you taught or preached to remember everything you have said?  When and how long was Paul with the Thessalonians?
2:13-14 As a Presbyterian, I am hearing echoes of call, election and predestination.
2:15 What does it mean to stand firm and hold fast?  What traditions is Paul referring to?  Today, Protestant usually eschew “tradition” while Roman Catholics embrace “tradition.”  Does the Wesleyan Quadrilateral help us handle and deal with tradition?
2:16-17 How do Trinitarians deal with non-Trinitarian blessings and benedictions, or do you find an allusion to the Holy Spirit in this verse?

20:27 At some point in my youth I learned that the Sadducees were the ones who denied the resurrection.  That is why they were “sad, you see.”
20:28 Do you find it odd that the Sadducees referred to Jesus as “teacher?”
20:28-35 What do you know about levirate marriage?  Does this passage have anything at all to say concerning marriage equality, family values, or society’s social welfare safety net? How might couples, or women, who either want children but can’t conceive, or couples who are childless by choice, hear this passage?
20:29 Is there any significance to the number seven?
20:33 Maybe in the resurrection this woman will get to pick the man she wants to be married to!
20:34 What does Jesus mean by “this age?”
20:35 So much for family values and the defense of marriage!
20:36 How do angels figure into this?
20:37-38 If you were no so used to this argument, would you buy it? Was the Sadducees' question about the nature of the resurrection or the reality of the resurrection? Why am I thinking of the Irish Philosopher George Berkeley?

ADDENDUM
I am currently a Member at Large of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and will begin serving as the Interim Pastor of the Richmond United Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Ohio on Tuesday, November 1st, 2016. Sunday Worship at Richmond begins at 11:00 AM.

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