Friday, April 21, 2017

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the Third 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, 36-41
2:14a You might recall that this verse was also part of last week’s Reading. Do you remember whom Peter is addressing? Last week’s First Reading gave us the first part of Peter’s Sermon. This week’s First Reading gives us the second part.
2:36 I hate it when a reading begin with a “therefore” because we do not hear the previous reasoning. Who is the entire house of Israel? Why does Peter refer to Jesus as “both” Lord and Messiah?  According to Peter, who crucified Jesus?
2:37 What does it mean and feel like to be “cut to the heart”?  When was the last time you were “cut to the heart” and what precipitated it?  Is there any significance to the fact that the crowd addresses Peter and the other apostles as “brothers”?
2:38 How do we reconcile the Trinitarian baptismal formula with Peter’s admonition to be “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ”?  How does this verse address those who argue that one must receive the Holy Spirit before being baptized?
2:39 What is the “promise” Peter refers to? In this context, we might know who “you” and “your children” are, but who are those “who are far away”? Does this verse offer a justification for infant baptism?
2:40 I would love to hear all those “many other arguments.” How do you understand “argument”?
2:41 Is there any significance to the number three thousand?

PSALM 116:1-4, 12-19
116:1 Must one have a reason to love the LORD? What does the Psalmist mean by voice? What is a supplication?
116:2 Would the Psalmist still have prayed if the Lord had not inclined an ear?
116:3 What are pangs? What is Sheol?
116:4 This is perhaps the shortest prayer in Scripture, sort of a fox hole prayer. How does one call on the name of the LORD when the name of the LORD is not to be pronounced?
116:12 This is a good question to ask when talking and thinking about stewardship. Nothing truly belongs to us, yet we cannot realistically return it all.
116:13 What is the cup of salvation? How might this verse influence our understanding of the Eucharist and vice versa? Again, how does one call on the name of the LORD when the LORD’s name is never pronounced? Should Christians observe the Jewish admonition against pronouncing the LORD’s name?
116:14 What does it mean to pay vows? What is a vow? Why pay them in the presence of the Lord’s people rather than privately?
116:15 In what sense is death ever precious?  What about the death of those not faithful?
116:16 Note that the Psalm transitions from narration to direct address.  Who or what is a serving girl? What bonds have been loosed?
116:17 What is a thanksgiving sacrifice?
116:18 See verse 116:13.  Might this Psalm be a liturgical form?
116:19 What and where are the courts of the house of the LORD?

1 PETER 1:17-23
1:17 This sounds a lot more polished than what we heard from Peter in the First Reading.  Is this an argument for works righteousness?  What is reverent fear? What exile is Peter referring to?
1:18 Is there any other way to read this verse other than through the lenses of a ransom theory of the atonement? What ancestors is Peter referring to?
1:19 Is there any other way to read this verse other than through the lenses of a theory of blood atonement?  Must a ransom theory and blood theory of the atonement go hand in hand?
1:20 This sounds like Peter is talking about a preexistent Christ. Might Presbyterians identify this as a passage that argues for predestination? Why is “ages” plural?
1:21 Is this Theocentric rather than Christocentric? Note that God raised Christ from the dead. Christ did not raise himself.
1:22 How does obedience purify?  Does this suggest a works righteousness?
1:23 This being “born anew” sounds like John’s being “born from above,” but what is this “not of perishable but of imperishable seed?”

LUKE 24:13-35
24:13 What day is it? Is there any significance to the fact that Emmaus was seven miles from Jerusalem?  What do you know about Emmaus? Who are “them” and why are they not named?
24:14 What things had happened?
24:15 I wonder from what direction Jesus approached them.
24:16 How can one’s eyes be kept from recognizing Jesus? Have you ever not recognized someone you knew intimately?
24:17 Was this a rhetorical question?  Why did Jesus ask it? Why did the two look sad?
24:18 Do we know anything else about Cleopas?  Is this question the height of irony, or what?
24:19 Is this another rhetorical question?  To refer to Jesus as a “prophet” is pretty low Christology and not much of a statement of faith.
24:20 Who crucified Jesus?
24:21 Notice the past tense. Do they no longer hope this?  Has all hope been lost?
24:22 Why are these “Some Women” not named?  What does it mean to be astounded?  When was the last time you were astounded and what astounded you?
24:23 Is there a difference between “seeing angels” and “seeing a vision of angels”?
24:24 Who are “those who were with us”?  Who are “us”?
24:25 How often have you wanted to preach something similar? What does it mean to be slow of heart?
24:26 Is this yet another rhetorical question?
24:27 We have the law and the prophets but no writings. Why no writings?  I wonder how long this interpretation took. What “scriptures” are being referred to?
24:28 It sounds as though the two were either stopping or that Jesus started walking faster than they were walking.  Sometimes it seems like the church is still trying to catch up with the resurrected Christ; that Jesus is out in front of the church.
24:29 What does the time of day have to do with anything? This “stay with us” reminds me, in some sense, of the Transfiguration account. Where were they staying? What were they staying in?
24:30 Déjà vu: Where have we heard this before?
24:30-31 I think these verses offer one of the best arguments for frequent—even every Sunday—celebration of the Eucharist.  Why did Jesus vanish from their sight as soon as they recognized him?
24:31 Read this in light of verse 24:16.
24:32 Is there any relation between the opening of the scriptures and the opening of the eyes? What does a burning heart feel like?  Has your heart ever burned and why?
24:33 Is “hour” perhaps more than a simple reference to the chronological time of day?  These two are not numbered among the eleven. Who are their companions? Since it was almost evening and the day was almost over back in 24:29, did they have to travel to Jerusalem in the dark of night?
24:34 Who was saying this? Where and when did the Lord appear to Simon? Is Simon the only one that matters?  Did the Lord appear to no one else?
24:35 Does this offer new or additional meaning to Eucharistic remembering?

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.

No comments: