Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the Second Sunday of Easter (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.

ACTS 2:14a, 22-32
2:14a Whom is Peter addressing?
2:22 Are “deeds of power”, “wonders” and “signs” synonyms?
2:23 This does not sound like the same Peter portrayed in the Gospels.  “Definite plan and foreknowledge” sounds a little like predestination.  Who were outside the law?
2:24 Death might not have been able to hold Jesus indefinitely but apparently it had him for a while, otherwise he could not have been freed. Note that according to Peter, God raised Jesus. Jesus did not raise himself.
2:25-28 Where does David say this?  Was David really talking about Jesus? How would you grade Peter’s interpretation of David’s words?
2:29 What argument is Peter making?
2:30 And God did this in the person of Solomon.
2:31 see my comments for 2:25-28.
2:32 Is Peter trying to show that the resurrection of Jesus fulfills prophecy or that the Scriptures foretold his resurrection?  What is the difference and does it matter?

16:1 How might the contemporary United States National Wildlife Refuge system help us understand this passage?
16:2 As you read this passage, watch for the transitions between direct address and narrative. Why does the Psalmist seem to alternate between direct address to God and speaking of God in the third person?
16:3 Who are “the holy ones in the land?”
16:4 Whom is being referred to?
16:5 What is a chosen portion?
16:6 What boundary lines is the psalmist referring to? I find this an interesting verse in light of the recent political history of the Middle East, especially regarding borders.
16:7 How does the heart instruct during the night?  Might this be a reference to dreams?
16:8 Reference is usually made to the LORD’s right hand, not a human’s. This verse almost make the LORD sound like an talisman. How do, or can we, keep the LORD always before us?
16:9 With heart, soul, and body, is there more going on here than typical Hebrew poetry?
16:10 What is the “Pit” being referred to and why is it capitalized in the NRSV? Are Sheol and the Pit the same thing/place?
16:11 What is the path of life?  What pleasures might the psalmist have in mind?

1 PETER 1:3-9
1:3 New birth through resurrection from the dead!
1:4 Is this “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” inheritance being implicitly compared to any other inheritance?
1:5 What does this verse say about Peter’s eschatology?
1:6 What trials might Peter be referring to?
1:7 Is Peter suggesting that faith, like Gold, needs to be purified by fire?
1:8 Is this verse evidence that Peter is writing to perhaps second generation or even later Christians, or at least Christians who did not know Jesus before his ascension?
1:9 Should we make anything of the tense of “are receiving”?

JOHN 20:19-31
20:19 This reading might be for the First Sunday After Easter, but the narrative is from the events of Easter day. Why were the disciples afraid of the Jews? What is the significance of Jesus’ words “Peace be with you.”?
20:20 Did the disciples not recognize Jesus until after he showed them his wounds?
20:21 Why might Jesus have repeated what he said? Where was Jesus sending the disciples?
20:22 Did the disciples receive the Holy Spirit?  If so, was it Jesus words or his breathing on them, or both, that allowed them to receive it?
20:23 To whom was Jesus speaking? How shall we Protestants deal with this verse?
20:24 Why was Thomas called the Twin? Why might Thomas have not been there?  Where might he have been?
20:25 Would Thomas have said this if it were not for what is described in 20:20? In this Gospel’s scheme of things, whom might Thomas represent?
20:26 Now we are dealing with events on the same schedule as we are, a week after Easter.  Did the disciples make it a habit to gather in the same place on a weekly basis?  This time the doors are shut but not necessarily locked.  How many times have we now heard “Peace be with you.”? Had Jesus not appeared to anyone during the time between these two appearances?
20:27 Was Jesus inviting or commanding Thomas to touch his wounds?  Does Thomas do so?  Was Jesus inviting Thomas to believe or commanding him to believe? Was seeing Jesus’ wounds, and being invited to touch them enough to ignite Thomas’ belief?
20:28 Can we categorize Thomas’s reaction as a statement of faith?
20:29 Whom is this verse referring to when it speaks of “those who have not seen and yet come to believe”?
20:30 I wonder what “other signs” are being thought of.  I think there is a novel or two waiting to be inspired by this verse.  Perhaps Dan Brown will take up the challenge, writing “The Other Signs of Jesus”. I find it interesting that this Gospel refers to itself as a “book”.
20:31 Who is the “you” being addressed?

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 and The Trek.

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