Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for The 2nd Sunday of Advent (Year A)

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 11:1-10
11:1 Note that in the NRSV this text is formatted as poetry, not prose.  Does this affect how we interpret it?  This verse is a good example of parallelism as a feature of Hebrew Poetry. Who was Jesse?
11:2 Does this verse imply that the spirit of the LORD is the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, and knowledge and fear of the LORD?  Is this spirit the same as The Holy Spirit?
11:3 What is “the fear of the LORD”?  Is justice both blind and deaf?
11:4 Does this verse express a prejudice toward/for the poor and meek? Note the power of voice/word.
11:5 Does “righteousness” equal “faithfulness”?  Are “loins” the same as the “waist”?
11:6-7 Here are images of the “peaceable kingdom”. What do you know about Edward Hicks?  What is a fatling?
11:8 Is there any significance to “asps” and “adders”?  Is this an allusion to any particular serpent or serpents?
11:9 Who will not hurt? What is “knowledge of the LORD”? Does “earth” refer to people or the planet and all its inhabitants, human and otherwise?
11:10 What does it mean for anyone to “stand as a signal”? Do “people” and “nations” suggest a universalism?

PSALM 72:1-7, 18-19
Why do you think this Psalm, out of all of them, was chosen to pair with the Isaiah Reading?
72:1 Which king?  Which son?
72:2 Echoes of Isaiah 11:4?
72:3 Does this passage have any implication regarding mountain top removal mining?
72:4 More preference for the poor, needy and oppressed.  Who is the “He”?  Does this passage have any implication regarding the systemic weakening of our social safety net?
72:5 How can a king live so long?  Is this mere poetic hyperbole?
72:6 What is being asked for here?
72:7 When would the moon be no more?  What are we missing in 72:8-17?
72:18 What are the “wondrous things” the LORD does?
72:19 How can the LORD’s name be blessed when the LORD’s name is not spoken? Why the double Amen?

ROMANS 15:4-13
15:4 When were “the former days”?  What writings are included in and meant by “the Scriptures”?
15:5 What does living in harmony look like?  Is this another lectionary echo of Isaiah 11:6-9?
15:6 I hear echoes of Psalm 72:19.
15:7 How did Christ welcome us?
15:8 Was Christ “a servant” of only the circumcised or also uncircumcised as well? What promise was given to the patriarchs?  What about the matriarchs?
15:9-12 What is being quoted in this verse and in the following verses?
15:12 Is this a quote of Isaiah 11:1?
15:13 A verse often used liturgically as a blessing/benediction.  Is it Trinitarian?

MATTHEW 2:1-12
3:1 When were “those days”?  I prefer to refer to “John the Baptizer” rather than “John the Baptist”.  What does it mean that John “appeared”?  What is the symbolic meaning of “wilderness”?
3:2 Note that John proclaims “the kingdom of heaven has come near”, not will or is coming near.  What is “the kingdom of heaven” and what does it mean that it “has come near”?
3:3 Where in Isaiah would you find this quote?  Did John’s appearing in the wilderness lend itself to referring to this passage from Isaiah, or did this passage from Isaiah suggest, after the fact, that the wilderness is where John had to appear?  Must “locusts” refer to insects?
3:4 What is the significance of John’s wardrobe?
3:5 It sounds like John’s preaching station was a popular destination.  
3:6 How do we reconcile John’s act of baptizing with later Christian understandings of the sacrament?
3:7 Are you surprised that “many Pharisees and Sadducees” were coming to John for baptism? Could John’s invective perhaps be more a reflection of Matthew’s perspective than John’s?
3:8 Good advice, regardless of who is being addressed.  What fruit is worthy of repentance?
3:9 How do we reconcile this verse with Romans 15:8?  I recall that both John and Jesus had some interesting things to say about stones.
3:10 Note that “ax” is singular while “trees” is plural.  What is the metaphorical fire? When the tree is cut down at the root, will a shoot come out from the remaining stump? (See Isaiah 11:1-10)
3:8-10 Is John still talking to only the Pharisees and Sadducees, or also to the people of Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region along the Jordan?
3:11 What is the difference between water on the one hand and the Holy Spirit and fire on the other hand?  In light of this verse, what reasons can you think of to explain why Christians still baptize with water?
3:12 What is a winnowing fork and what is it used for?  What is a threshing floor?  What is chaff? Does the imagery of this verse in any way follow the imagery of 3:8 and 3:10?  Does the imagery of 3:8 and 3:10 foreshadow this verse?
3:11-12 while in 3:2 we learn that “the kingdom of heaven has come near,” in this verse we shift to the present and future tense:  one is coming, he will baptize, he will clear, he will gather, he will burn. Why the shift in tense? 

ADDENDUM
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 blog posts have also appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and Appalachian Trials.

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for The 1st Sunday of Advent (Year A)

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.

PREFACE:
Today’s Readings are for the First Sunday of Advent, which means this is the first Sunday of a new Liturgical year and the beginning of a new lectionary cycle, “Year A” or the year of Matthew. Each cycle in the three-year Lectionary cycle focuses on a different Synoptic Gospel. Year A is the year of Matthew. Year B is the year of Mark. Year C is the year of Luke. Passages from John appear in all three cycles, especially during Lent and Easter. Thus, preachers and teachers, for their own edification, preparation, and as a spiritual discipline, might read the entire Gospel of Matthew as soon as practical. You might also read a brief and broad theological commentary on Matthew, all in preparation for a year of preaching, teaching and liturgy.

I used to think of Advent as a bi-focal season. On the one hand, we look back and prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, or his first coming. On the other hand we, we look forward and preparing to welcome Christ at his return, or his second coming. I have recently come to think of Advent as a tri-focal season. With the Hebrews we see a longing for the first coming of the Messiah. With Christians throughout the centuries we also rejoice and celebrate the fulfillment of Hebrew prophecy as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth, but we also prepare to welcome him when he returns.

How do these three foci influence our interpretations of Advent Readings? Can we focus on each reading using all three lenses or do some readings lend themselves to one lens more than the others? Are we perhaps missing anything by consciously or unconsciously limiting ourselves to only one or two viewpoints? What other viewpoints might there be that we have not considered?

Speaking of celebrations, this blog post marks the third time for me to ruminate on the first readings in the three years cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary, thus the name change from Lectionary Ruminations and Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 to Lectionary Ruminations 2.5!  About the day and hour when I will no longer write and post my ruminations, no one knows. Until that unexpected hour, I am glad to begin Year A with this First Sunday of Advent post and to initiate the new Liturgical Year with Lectionary Ruminations 2.5.

ISAIAH 2:1-5
2:1 I find it interesting that biblical prophecies are introduced in a variety of ways. Some prophets receive a word, some hear a word, and others see a vision. How does Amos “see” “the word”? Does it make any difference that Isaiah was the son of Amoz?
2:2 Does “in the days to come” set this Reading in the Apocalyptic genre? From our perspective, have these days yet arrived and passed? The mountain of the Lord being established as the highest of the mountains is probably a comment about the mountain’s political and religious stature, not its geographical height, which is around 2,500 feet above sea level. What does it mean that “all the nations” shall stream to the mountain of the Lord?
2:3 In that Jerusalem is sacred to three faiths and people make pilgrimages there, this prophecy seems to have been fulfilled. How does this vision inform the teaching ministry of the church and the church’s involvement in higher education?
2:4 What is a plowshare? What is a pruning hook? How can Christians in an urbanized setting far removed from any agriculture find meaning in implements of war being transformed into agricultural tools? Perhaps a modern image might be “They shall transform their nuclear weapons programs into building nuclear reactors for producing electricity.” or “They shall transform their handguns and semi-automatic weapons into gardening tools.”
2:5 What does it mean to “walk in the light of the LORD”? How does the image of “walking in the light” add to our observance and celebration of Advent?

PSALM 122:1-9
122:1 This verse seems to echo Isaiah 2:3. Does this first verse establish this Psalm as a Psalm of Ascents? As worship attendance declines it seems that more and more people are not glad to be invited to go to the house of the LORD.
122:2 Is this an allusion to standing on holy ground or within a protected environment?
122:3 What is the meaning of “firmly bound together”?
122:4 Note that here “the tribes go up” whereas in Isaiah 2:2 “all the nations shall stream” to the mountain of the Lord. The Psalmist may have envisioned only Jews going up to Jerusalem, yet today adherents of three faiths, and non-adherents as well, go up to Jerusalem. How does one give thanks to the name of the LORD when the name of the LORD is not to be pronounced?
122:5 Why is “thrones” plural? Who sits on these thrones?
122:6-7 Jerusalem certainly needs our prayers today. Do you ever pray for the Peace of Jerusalem? What is the meaning of “Jerusalem”? Think “salem” and “shalom”.
122:8 Are the Psalmist’s relatives and friends living in Jerusalem? Do you know anyone presently living in Jerusalem?
122:9 How does one seek good for Jerusalem? As we pray for Jerusalem and seek its good, does it matter that the Temple still lies in ruins?

ROMANS 13:11-14
13:11 The phrase “Besides this” suggests we are missing the previous point. Can we properly interpret this passage without reading what came before? The salvation alarm clock is ringing. While the final clause is true, how much closer is a mere two thousand years compared to an unknown timeline?
13:12 “The day is near” points me back to Psalm 112:9. What are “works of darkness”? What is the “armor of light”? Why am I thinking of the Dead Sea “War Scroll”?
13:13 While “drunkenness” stands alone, note the pairing of “debauchery and licentiousness” and “quarreling and jealousy”. What is debauchery? What is licentiousness?
13:14 Is the admonition to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” a reference to baptism, or something else? How can we realistically “make no provision for the flesh”? Is this a call to asceticism? Is there a difference between maintaining health of the flesh and gratifying its desires? Why am I hungry for a Graham Cracker and a bowl of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes?

MATTHEW 24:36-44
24:36 “that day and hour” certainly places us in the apocalyptic genre. There is an interesting juxtaposition between not knowing “that day and hour” and its context within a liturgical and secular calendar. While no one knows “that day and hour,” we all know that Christmas is now only less than a month away, and still most of us will not be fully prepared when that day finally arrives. Is “the Son” that does not know the day and hour the “Son of Man”?
24:37 How will the “days of Noah” be like “the coming of the Son of Man”? Those with a theological education will undoubtedly understand the “Son of Man” reference but I wonder how most people in the pews and in the Church School Class will hear and understand it. How much do teachers and preachers need to translate theological terms and phrases and theological baggage such as “Son of Man” when we encounter them in Scripture or can we simply gloss over them? See Daniel 7:13.
24:38-39 These verses partially answer the question about the “days of Noah” and “the coming of the Son of Man” comparison, but what do they teach us?
24:40-41 More agrarian imagery that we may need to translate into a postindustrial and more urban context. At one time these verses seemed to be some of the favorite among apocalyptically minded evangelicals employing “the rapture” as an evangelism tool. Since I have lost touch with that segment of the church, I wonder if they are still popular passages. It seems that in both verses people are still going about their daily routines in spite of Christ’s assumed imminent return.
24:42 This is good advice regardless of one’s position on the theological spectrum. On the other hand, I am also familiar with Aesop’s fable about the boy who cried wolf.
24:43 How does this follow from what proceeds it? The Lord might come like a thief but he is not a thief. The emphasis is on being spiritually awake. We want the Lord to break into our homes and lives.
24:44 The phrase “be ready” seems synonymous with “keep awake.” Consider again the question I raised regarding Luke 22:37. There seems to be a tension between being told that the “Son of Man is coming” but not knowing when he will come. It sounds a little like making an appointment for repair service in the home on a certain day but not knowing what time the repair person will arrive, or knowing that UPS or Fed-Ex will deliver a package on a certain day but not knowing what time. What is a healthy balance between certainty and ambiguity?

ADDENDUM
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 blog posts have also appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and Appalachian Trials.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Chronological Links to "Cycling from DC to PGH" Series of Blog Posts

Vince and I at the beginning of the C and O Canal Towpath
These are the links, in chronological order, to my "Spinning Wheels (From DC to PGH)" series of blog posts about cycling the C and O Canal Towpath, Western Maryland Rail Trail, and Great Allegheny Passage from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with my friend Vince during May and August, 2016.

From DC to PGH - Prologue
From DC to PGH - Day 0
From DC to PGH - Day 1
From DC to PGH - Day 2
From DC to PGH - Day 3
From DC to PGH - Day 4
From DC to PGH - Day 5
From DC to PGH - Day 6
From DC to PGH - Day 7
From DC to PGH - Day 8
From DC to PGH – Day 9
From DC to PGH – Day 10
From DC to PGH – My Gear

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 Taizé 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.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Spinning Wheels (From DC to PGH – My Gear)

My bike and gear
at the Eastern Continental Divide
            If you have been following my series of posts about cycling the C and O Canal Towpath, Western Maryland Rail Trail, and Great Allegheny Passage from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this past summer, you might be wondering what gear I used and carried on the trip. My purpose in writing this post is to show that you do not need a super expensive bike or a lot of expensive gear to experience the ride of your life for yourself.

            Even though it was a year out of date, I found the tenth edition of the TrailBook, published by the Allegheny Trail Alliance, well worth the $10 cost. It was essential for helping me plan for the trip. I also carried it along with me as I rode. This invaluable resource has since been renamed the TrailGuide and is now in its twelfth edition.

            I also found several entries on The Great Allegheny Passage (unofficial) Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/gapcando/) very helpful, especially those that linked to blog posts written by cyclists who had experienced the trip that had insights and suggestions to offer. This is a closed group so you will need to request to join.

            In addition to using the map that came with my copy of the tenth edition of the TrailBook I also carried and used a Chesapeake and Ohio Canal brochure and map from the National Park Service and a  Free waterproof 2016 GAPmap. The 2017 GAPmap is available from getGAPmap.com.  Each of the three maps provided some information the other maps did not.

My very muddy bike with Vince in the background
            My riding Partner, Vince, and I planned to camp all but one night while we were cycling, and to cook most of our breakfasts and dinners while we were camping. That meant we needed to carry not only food but stoves to heat water and cook with. We also carried sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and tents. If we had decided to stay in Motels or B &;B’s every night, we could have carried a lot less gear, but it would have changed the character of our trip.

            I undertook this adventure riding a more or less off the floor Trek 8.3 DS hybrid that was purchased new two years earlier.  At the time of purchase the store upgraded the saddle and added a Bontrager water bottle cage and a Bontrager backrack. Prior to the trip I added a second water bottle cage, replaced the stock pedals with Shimano SPD Pedals, and swapped out the standard grips for Ergon GP2-L grips

            I installed a set of Axiom low rider front racks to which I attached Axiom Seymour DLX 30L panniers. I used Axiom Seymour DLX 45L panniers on the back rack. I lined both rear panniers with XL Ziploc Bags for extra protection from rain. This arrangement served me well but a smaller size Ziploc Big Bag might have been a better fit.

All our gear spread out at Husky Haven Campground
            All four panniers were filled with gear at the start of the trip. In addition to the Panniers, I also used buckle lash straps to attach my sleeping pad, tent, tarp and poles to the rear rack between the panniers. By the end of the trip, as food stocks were depleted, I was able to fit my tent, tarp and poles inside the panniers and had to attach only my sleeping pad to the back rack. I also had an inexpensive Bell handlebar bag on front but after the trip replaced it with a 5L Topeak Handlebar Bag for the ride from Hancock to Frostburg.

            I used an old Sierra Designs Ultra Flash three season tent for shelter from rain and bugs which I supplemented with a 9’6” x 9’3” nylon tarp with nesting poles to put up over picnic tables. It rained so much our first couple days and nights that I was really glad I had the tarp with us as it allowed us to cook, eat, sit, and stand out of the rain.

            I slept in fairly new Marmot Cloudbreak 30 synthetic bag supplemented by Sea to Summit Thermolite REACTOP sleeping bag liner. The liner helped me keep my bag clean. On warmer nights I used just the liner on top of the bag until the temperature cooled down enough to slip into the bag. A Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOlite served as my sleeping pad.

Vince using our cooking gear
            Vince and I both carried MSR Whisperlite Internationals to boil water and cook over. We also both carried 20oz bottles of MSR liquid fuel and burned about a total of 20oz between us. We could have gotten by with one stove but each of us wanted to be self-sufficient in case the other  had to bail out early.
           I carried two water bottles on my bike plus a collapsible Nalgene three liter canteen in a pannier to use while camping. I did not carry a water filter because I trusted the water sources, but Vince carried a Katydyn Hiker Microfilter water filter that we used to filter any iodine taste of the pump water along the Towpath. Be aware, however, that beginning January 1st, 2017, the National Park Service will no longer consider pump water along the Towpath potable and will recommend that all pump water along the Towpath be either filtered or chemically treated before use. If I were to repeat this trip in the future I would carry my own water filter.
            In addition to my riding shoes I also carried a pair of Teva sandals which I wore in camp. I carried two pair of synthetic riding socks and two pair of Smart Wool riding socks. I was really glad I had the wool socks the first couple of days when it was cool, raining, and my feet were getting wet.
            I took two pair of Novara Forza Road Bike Shorts and alternated their use, rinsing one pair out and letting them dry while wearing the other pair. I also took a pair of mesh lined trail shorts which I wore while in camp.

            Two of my riding Jerseys were short sleeved and one was long sleeved. I wore the long sleeved jersey the first day when it was raining and chilly but did not wear it again. I also took a long sleeved and a short sleeved Smart wool top for wearing around camp.

Tents and tarp at Antietam
            My Novara Stratos Bike Pants kept me dry and warm during those first couple of wet and chilly  days but after the rain stopped and the temperatures rose I did not need them. They worked so well that I wish I had left my Marmot PreCip pants at home. My Marmot PreCip jacket also kept me dry and warm the first couple pf days and I may have used it again after that for chilly evenings and mornings and would not have wanted to be without it. I also wore a Marmot PreCip brimmed cap under my helmet the first day to keep both my head and my face dry and was glad I had it.

            I had taken one shop cloth for cleaning up my bike but wish I had taken a small plastic bottle each of dry and wet chain lube as well as a small plastic bottle of chain degreaser and a brush to clean dirt and mud out of the gears and derailleurs. The mud was so thick those first couple of days that it was affecting my shifting but I did not have anything to clean it out with other than squeezing water from my water bottle with as much pressure as I could to clean out the derailleurs and gears.

            While Vince was more creative with his breakfasts and dinners, he also used more fuel. I enjoyed packets of Quaker Instant Oatmeal and Starbucks Vanilla Latte VIA every morning.  For dinner I relied on just add boiling water Freezer Bag Meals I prepared at home. Both Vince and I depended on no cook tuna and tortilla wraps for lunch. Crackers and homemade GORP supplemented or meals.

Here are the link to previous installments in the "Spinning Wheels" series:

From DC to PGH - Day 10 (27th Installment)
From DC to PGH - Day 9 (26th Installment)
From DC to PGH - Day 8 (25th Installment)
From DC to PGH - Day 7 (24th Installment)
From DC to PGH - Day 6 (23rd Installment)
My First Tour the Montour (22nd Installment)

From DC to PGH - Day 5 (21st Installment)
From DC to PGH - Day 4 (20th Installment)
From DC to PGH - Day 3 (19th Installment)
From DC to PGH - Day 2 (18th Installment)
From DC to PGH - Day 1 (17th Installment)
From DC to PGH - Day 0 (16th Installment)
From DC to PGH - Prologue (15th Installment)
Transitioning (14th Installment)
Flats (13 Installment)
Beware Dehydration (12 Installment)
Creams & Powders for your Butt (11th Installment)
Group vs. Solo Rides (10th Installment)
Competitiveness (9th Installment)
Stats (8th Installment)
Accidents Happen (7th Installment)
Pedals for Cleats (6th Installment)
Riding Shoes with Cleats (5th Installment)
Be Kind to Your Behind (4th Installment)
Combating Hand and Arm Numbness (3rd Installment)
Reading and Riding (2nd Installment)
Group vs. Solo Rides (10th Installment)
Competitiveness (9th Installment)
Stats (8th Installment)
Accidents Happen (7th Installment)
Pedals for Cleats (6th Installment)
Riding Shoes with Cleats (5th Installment)
Be Kind to Your Behind (4th Installment)
Combating Hand and Arm Numbness 
Reading and Riding (2nd Installment)
Starting Over (1st Installment)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, November 13, 2016, the Thirty-Third 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.

65:17 What is the quality of this “new”?  I suggest it is not just a statement related to time. What is the difference between chronos time and kairos time? Why would former things not be remembered or come to mind?
65:18 Note that God is “creating”.  How might Process Theology help us here? How is Jerusalem today a joy and its people a delight?
65:19 Is this a promise still unfulfilled?
65:20 While infant mortality has been addressed by modern medicine, modern medicine still has not raised the expected life span to one hundred years. Are we all accursed? Could this be hyperbole?
65:21 But where shall those houses be built? Who today plants but does not eat the fruit of their planting?
65:22 Do these verses have anything to say regarding contemporary economics?  What might Henry Ford have to say about these verses?
65:23 How might the current (or most recent, depending on when you are reading this) American presidential election shed light on this verse?
65:24 Does this have any implication for our understanding of prayer?
65:25  Are you familiar with the paintings of Edward Hicks?

I wonder why the Presbyterian Mission Agency categorizes this as a First Reading rather than the Psalm. I think this verse qualifies as a canticle if not a psalm. Are all psalms in the Book of Psalms?
12:1 Who will say?  What day? Does the LORD experience the full range of emotions, or just anger?
12:2 Is this salvation any different than salvation in the New Testament. How is salvation from God related to God’s strength and might?
12:3 I love the “water from the wells of salvation” imagery. Note that “wells” is plural.  I wonder how many wells there are. I also wonder how this verse might inform Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well.
12:4 How can we call on the LORD’s name and proclaim that the LORD’s name is  exalted when the Lord’s name is not pronounced?
12:5 Is there a difference between “in all the earth” verses “over” or “on” all the earth?
12:6 What makes Zion royal? What does it mean for the Holy One of Israel to be in our midst?

3:6 What is the tradition the Thessalonians received from Paul?
3:7 Who is the “us”?
3:8 Night and day? Is Paul prone to hyperbole?  In other letters, 1 Timothy 5:17-18 and 1 Corinthians 9:9.14, Paul argues that church leaders deserve to be compensated.
3:9 Paul seems to be playing both sides here.
3:10 What does this have to do with the social safety net?
3:11 How and why would Paul be hearing this? 
3:12 What is the real underlying problem here that Paul is addressing?
3:13 Who is to decide what is right?

21:5 What do we know about those who were speaking about the temple? Do people ever speak this way about their church buildings?
21:6 Might this be an example of literary foreshadowing, an after the fact reading back into the past allusions to something that has already occurred in the present?
21:7 Is there any significance to the fact that Jesus is called “Teacher”.  What is a “sign”?
21:8 What do we know about messianic pretenders during the this time?  What might this verse be saying to us in our day?
21:9 I long for a time when I DO NOT hear of wars and insurrections.  I long to live in the age described by Isaiah in 65:25.
21:10-11 When has this not been the case? What is a portent? I think sometimes Christian Theology has a natural disaster problem.
21:12 I think this might be yet another example of literary foreshadowing, the Gospel writer interjecting back into the past knowledge of events that would come later than the time being written about but which have already taken place by the time the Gospel was being written. Does this verse refer to persecution of Christians by both Jews and Romans?
21:13 When do we have an opportunity to testify?
21:14-15 Why not prepare a defense beforehand? Do these verses have any implications for homiletics?
21:16 There go family values.
21:17 This verse gives me no comfort.
21:18 What sort of “perish” are we talking about?  Christians would be killed because of their faith. Juxtapose this verse with 21:16.
21:19 Salvation by martyrdom?

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.