Thursday, June 8, 2017

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost (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.

GENESIS 18:1-15 (21:1-7)
18:1 How did the LORD appear? In what form did the LORD appear? Is there anything special about oaks? Where was Mamre? Does the time of day or weather conditions make any difference?
18:2 So the LORD appeared as three men? Why did Abraham bow to the three men?
18:3 Why does Abraham address three men as “My lord?”
18:4 Who washed their feet? What do you know about customs of hospitality in that region at that time?
18:5 Bread is a staple of life. Is there any Eucharistic imagery here?
18:6 Abraham offers to provide bread but Sarah is left to do the work. Note that Abraham instructs Sarah to use “choice” flour.
18:7 How valuable would a calf have been?
18:8 What are curds? Why did Abraham watch but not join them in eating?
18:9 How did the three men know Sarah’s name?
18:10 What sort of statement is this?
18:11 Why might Abraham have ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women? Why the euphemism?
18:12 Why did Sarah laugh? What does Sarah mean by “pleasure?”
18:13 Through whom is the LORD speaking? When did Sarah say what the LORD said she said?
18:14 Is this a rhetorical question? Why a son and not a daughter?
18:15 Is this a case of “she said – he said?”
(21:1) Spoiler alert! I think including this and the following optional verses prematurely relieves the tension.
(21:2) At what time was that?
(21:3) What pun might we be missing?
(21:4) Is this the first God commanded circumcision?
(21:5) That’s old! Is it too old to biologically be a father?
(21:6) Recall 18:12.
(21:7) Who, indeed would have said this or anything like it?

PSALM 116:1-2, 12-19
116:1 I wonder what the supplication was. Do you feel like the LORD has heard your voice?
116:2 How is this an anthropomorphic euphemism?
116:12 Maybe ten percent of the bounty?
116:13 What is the cup of salvation? How does one call on the name of the LORD when the LORD’s name is not pronounced?
116:14 What sort of vows? How are these vows paid?
116:15 Who are the LORD’s faithful ones?
116:16 Note the shift from narration to first person address. What is a servant girl? Is the Lectionary suggestion that this verse alludes to the birth of Isaac?
116:17 What is a thanksgiving sacrifice?
116:18 Note the shift back to narration. See 116:14.
116:19 What and where are the courts of the house of the LORD? So what that this is one of the “Egyptian Hallel” psalms?

ROMANS 5:1-8
5:1 I just hate it when readings from the Pauline corpus begin with “therefore” because we do not have the preceding argument.
5:2 How have we obtained access to grace through Christ?
5:3 Have you ever boasted in your sufferings?
5:4 Does character really produce hope? Can one have hope with first suffering?
5:5 What do you make of the verb “poured?” How is love poured?
5:6 When were we weak? What is the nature of this weakness?
5:7 Why would anyone rarely die for a righteous person? Is a good person of better or higher quality than a righteous person?
5:8 Did God need to prove divine love? Did we need God to prove divine love to us?

MATTHEW 9:35-10:8 (9-23)
9:35 Are “all” and “every” a bit hyperbolic?
9:36 Who was harassing the crowds.
9:37 What was Jesus talking about?
9:38 Who is the Lord of the harvest? Does the final prohibition preclude paying church workers for their labor?
10:1 See 9:35.
10:2-4 Is this the only listing we find in the gospels?
10:4 Is the comment about Judas prefiguration or evidence that the Gospel was composed after the fact?
10:5 Why avoid Gentiles and Samaritans?
10:6 See 9:36.
10:7 How has the kingdom of heaven come near?
10:8 See 9:35 and 10:1.
(10:9) Does this precluded church workers receiving a fair wage?
(10:11) Why am I hearing echoes from the movie Wayne’s World?
(10:12) How does one greet a house?
(10:13) See 10:11. What makes a house or a person worthy?
(10:14) Have you ever shaken the dust off your feet after leaving a house or town?
(10:15) What do Sodom and Gomorrah have to do with anything? Doe this verse in any way follow from 10:14?
(10:16) The shepherds become the sheep. Who are the wolves? How are serpents wise? How are doves innocent?
(10:17) Whose councils? Is this another example of prefiguration or evidence that this Gospel was written at a later time when Christians were being persecuted?
(10:18) The preceding verse seemed to address persecution by Jews but this verse seems to address persecution by the Romans.
(10:19) Does this verse have anything to say about preaching every Sunday or preparing to preach?
(10:20) What are the homiletical implications?
(10:21) So much for family values! Do you think we would be reading this in Scripture if such had not been the case somewhere at some time?
(10:22) What about the one who does not endure to the end?
(10:23) How does this relate to 10:14? Have you ever felt persecuted?

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 other blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and The Trek.

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