Friday, November 11, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, November 20, 2016, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (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.

23:1 Who are these shepherds?  Why would any shepherd destroy and scatter sheep they are responsible for?
23:2 How have the shepherds scattered the flock?  How have the shepherds driven sheep away?  How do we read this passage after nearly a half century of membership decline in the mainline church?
23:3 It sounds like the LORD will become the shepherd even though it was the LORD who had scattered the flock.
23:4 It sounds that in the midst of the failure of the old order shepherds that God will raise up new shepherds in their place.  What might this mean in a mainline church where many Teaching Elders (Ministers) are younger than the governing body of Ruling Elders?
23:5 Will this righteous branch be like a new shepherd, replacing the old shepherds?  From a Christian perspective, have these coming days already been fulfilled? 
23:6 How else might we translate “The LORD is our righteousness”?

I wonder why the Presbyterian Mission Agency categorizes this as a Gospel rather than the Psalm or Canticle. Does it make a difference how we label or identify it?
1:68 Who is speaking? Why does this sound so familiar?
1:69 Does it make a difference that this mighty savior has been raised up “in” the house of David rather than “from” the house of David?
1:70 All the prophets or just some of the prophets?
1:71 So this savior saves from enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.  Note that sin is not mentioned.
1:72 Which covenant is being remembered?
1:73 What oath did God swear?  Why would God swear an oath?  What would be our recourse if God did not keep this oath?
1:74 Does this mean that we are saved for service?
1:75 How do we serve in holiness and righteousness?
1:76 What child?  Is the child prophet going to prepare the way for the LORD God, or for the mighty savior?
1:77 What is salvation if we are not aware of it?  How does forgiveness of sins save from enemies and from the hand of all that hate us? (See 1:71)
1:78 Is there a difference between mercy and tender mercy?  Is tender mercy different from stern mercy?  I love the poetic and metaphorical “dawn from on high” because it leaves so much to the creative imagination.
1:79 Who have been sitting in darkness? What is the shadow of death?

1:11 This verse reminds me of a modern Celtic caim by David Adam which includes the petition “Keep strength within, keep weakness out.”
1:12 is this the same light as in Luke 1:79?  Who are the saints in light and what is their inheritance?
1:13 What power does darkness possess? Why do I keep being drawn back to Luke 1:79.  I am also being drawn to the John’s Prologue.
1:14 Is redemption synonymous with salvation? Is redemption synonymous with forgiveness of sin?
1:15 How can anything serve as an image of something, or someone that is invisible?  What Greek word does “image” translate? What is the difference between being the firstborn and pre-existence?
1:16 Does this verse justify equating Christ with the Sophia of Proverbs?  What does it mean that “in him” all things were created, and created “through him and for him”? How do we reconcile this verse with the creation accounts of Genesis?
1:17 I would love for a theoretical astrophysicist to reflect and expound on this image, especially as it relates to cosmology and cosmogony.  Perhaps this could be worked into a future episode of The Big Bang Theory.
1:18 Where else have we encountered this body metaphor? Does being the firstborn of the dead have anything to do with being the firstborn of all creation? (See 1:15)
1:19 What is the meaning of “dwell”?  How does this relate to essence?
1:20 Why do all things need to be reconciled to God?  How can peace be made through the blood of Christ’s cross?

23:33 When who came?  What place is called “The Skull”?  Who crucified Jesus? 
23:34 For whom was Jesus praying?  What does it mean to cast lots?
23:35 How had Jesus saved others?  Why did Jesus not save himself?
23:36 Is “mocking” the same as the “scoffed” of the previous verse? How is offering sour wine a type of mocking?
23:37 Is this a mere re-phrasing of 23:35?
23:38 How does this inscription negate the questions raised in verses 23:35 and 23:37?
23:39 Once again, this sounds like an echo of verses 35 as well as verse 37.
23:40 What are we to make of the juxtaposition of these two criminals and their statements and attitudes?
23:41 How did this criminal now that Jesus had done nothing wrong? Is this an example of irony, that a criminal is the one to pronounce the truth?
23:42 Why am I once again thinking of The Jesus Prayer and The Philokalia? I am also thinking of the Taiz√© chant “Jesus, remember me”
23:43 What are we to make of the “today”?  What is paradise?

ADDENDUM
I am a Member of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and am serving as the Interim Pastor of the Richmond United Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Ohio. Sunday Worship at Richmond begins at 11:00 AM.

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