Monday, December 12, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the Nativity of Jesus Christ / Christmas Day (Year ABC)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 is a further revision and refinement of my Lectionary Ruminations and Lectionary Ruminations 2.0.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 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 sometimes pointed and sometimes snarky comments and Socratic like questions, to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to lead a Bible study, draft liturgy, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.

Isaiah 52:7-10
52:7 Being a native of Appalachia and a lover of mountains, I resonate with this verse.  How does the mountain reference resonate with people not familiar with, or who do not have an affinity for mountains?  Why are feet the body part mentioned?
52:8 Who or what are your sentinels?  Note that the sentinels do not talk or yell – they sing. When and why did the LORD leave Zion?
52:9 How can ruins sing? How can the ruins of the mainline church and Christendom sing in a post Christian era?
52:10 What does it mean to bare an arm?  Is this anything like the euphemism “to roll up one’s sleeve”?  Is this a proof text for universal salvation?

Psalm 98:1-9
98:1 I am drawing connections with Isaiah 52:8 and 52:9. Why sing a new song and not an old song? What marvelous things has the LORD done? Why am I thinking of Billy Crystal?
98:2 What victory?
98:3 Must God be able to forget in order to remember?
98:4 What does joyful noise sound like? What is meant by “all the earth?”
98:5 What modern instrument might most resemble and sound like the lyre?
98:6 When was the last time you heard a trumpet or horn played in worship?
98:4-6 These verses call for joyous, hearty singing accompanied by strings and horns, not just organ or piano, and not shallow funeral dirges sometimes heard in churches.
98:7 How can landlubbers relate to this verse? How can the world roar?
98:8 We usually do not associate floods with joy but rather with destruction? What do floods clapping their hands sound like?
98:9 Is the LORD present, coming, or both?
98:7-9 I am thinking of musicians such as Paul Winter who incorporate animal sounds into their music. I am especially thinking of Paul Winter’s Winter Solstice live in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.

Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12)
1:1 How long ago? How many and in what various ways? Does God no longer speak?
1:2 When are the last days? Why the plural “worlds”?
1:3 What do you make of “reflection” and “imprint”?  How are sins purified?
1:4 What name has been inherited? What are the angel’s names?
(1:5) When did God say this and where can we read it?
(1:6) Who or what is the firstborn?
(1:7) Are angels then associated with thunderstorms?
(1:8) Again I ask, when did God say this and where can we read it?
(1:9) Ergo the Son is “The Anointed one”! What is the oil of gladness?
(1:10) Who or what is being quoted?
(1:11) The earth and the heavens will wear out?
(1:12) This sounds like the temporary nature of creation is being contrasted with the eternal nature of God.

John 1:1-14
1:1 Is this an allusion to Genesis 1:1 or something else?  What do you know about the role of the logos in Greek Philosophy?
1:2 Can we cite this verse to argue for the preexistent Christ, or only the preexistent Word?
1:3 See Hebrews 1:2
1:4 How is life the light of all people?
1:5 How could darkness ever overcome light?
1:6 What doess it mean to be sent from God?
1:7 Not all witnesses are called to testify, but John is.  Who believes through you and your testimony?
1:8 Why does this Gospel tell us that John was not the light?
1:9 Is there such a thing as false light?
1:10 Another verse which seems to support the preexistent Word or light.
1:11 Who or what was his own?
1:12 What is meant by “power” and how does the Word give it away? How do people use power to become children of God?
1:13 How many different kinds of birth are there? What does it mean to be born of God?
1:14 If the Word became flesh, then what was the nature of the Word  before becoming flesh?

I am a Minister 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. Some of my other blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS, Appalachian Trials, and The Trek.

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