Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time / Proper 15 (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.
45:1 Much has transpired between this week’s First Reading and last week’s First Reading. Does any of what transpired between the two readings matter? Has Joseph reached his limit? Perhaps Joseph did not want to let the Egyptians know that the men before him were his brothers.
45:2 I wonder what the Egyptians and household of Pharaoh thought when they heard Joseph weeping? What was the cause of his tears?
45:3 Note that Joseph asks if “his” father, not “our” father was still alive. Why were the brother’s dismayed by Joseph’s presence?
45:4 Why does Joseph repeat himself?
45:5 Is this an example of Joseph engaging in some theological reflection? Why would Joseph’s brothers be angry? Joseph is the one we might expect to be angry.
45:6 It sounds like things will get worse before they get better.
45:7 Might we compare Joseph to Noah?
45:8 Might Joseph have been older than Pharaoh?
45:9 How many ways might this verse be interpreted?
45:10 Was there anything significant about the land of Goshen? Why might Joseph want to keep hit family close by?
45:11 How will Joseph provide for his brothers? From what resources will he draw?
45:12 Why is Benjamin singled out?
45:13 Is Joseph rubbing it in? Is he blowing his own horn? In other words, go back and tell Dad that my dreams have come true.
45:14 Once again, why Benjamin? What was so special about the relationship between Joseph and Benjamin?
45:15 Would Joseph’s brothers not talk with him before this? I wonder what they talked about.
133:1 In light of today’s First reading, is this supposed to be a comment on Joseph’s family? Would it be a comment on Joseph’s family before or after the reunion narrated in the First Reading? Where is Edwin H. Friedman when you need him?
133:2 I have always appreciated the sensual nature of this verse. What does oil symbolize?
133:3 What and where is Hermon? What is significant about Hermon’s dew? What did the LORD do (no pun intended) at Hermon? Is the Lord’s blessing life for evermore?
ROMANS 11:1-2a, 29-32
11:1 Might Paul have answered this rhetorical question differently after the Shoah? Even though we are currently reading the Joseph narrative and the Pauline corpus lectio continua, the “Benjamin” connection between this Second Reading and the First Reading is a nice one. See Genesis 45:12 & 14.
11:2 What does Paul mean by “foreknew”?
11:29 What are the gifts of the calling of God? Christians in particular ought to remember this verse when engaging in dialogue with religious Jews.
11:30-31 Who are “they” and how have they been disobedient?
11:32 What does it mean to be imprisoned in disobedience?
MATTHEW 15:(10-20) 21-28
(15:10) I think every time Jesus says something like “listen and understand” that we can expect some enigmatic saying to follow. The crowd will probably neither listen nor understand.
(15:11) What comes out of the mouth? Is Jesus commenting on the digestive system?
(15:12) What did the disciples think? Did the disciples take offense?
(15:13) Does this verse reflect a negative view of the Pharisees? Is Jesus saying that the Pharisees are plants not planted by God?
(15:14) Leave them alone even though they are blind or “because” they are blind? Might there be some creeping anti-Semitism in this verse?
(15:15) What parable? Why is it that Peter is usually the first one to open his mouth – and then stick his foot in it?
(15:16) Me thinks the answer is “YES”! At times it seemed like the disciples misunderstood Jesus nearly as much as the Pharisees. Is our understanding any better?
(15:17-18) Oh, that parable! So Jesus was in fact talking about the digestive system. Is Jesus saying that words are dirtier than crap?
(15:19) All these come from the heart? This is an impressive list. Is anything not mentioned that you might have expected to be here?
(15:20) Is this a comment about religion or hygiene?
15:21 What place did Jesus leave? Is there anything significant about Tyre and Sidon?
15:22 What makes a “Canaanite” woman different than any other woman, or a Jewish woman? What do you know about “The Jesus Prayer,” Hesychasm and the Philokalia? How do post-moderns deal with demons?
15:23 Why does Jesus ignore this woman? Why do the disciples want to send her away?
15:24 Who are the lost sheep of the house of Israel?
15:25 What does a kneeling posture signify? This is the second time this woman calls Jesus “Lord”! Is her supplication not an example of the simplest prayer of a believer?
15:26 Did Jesus just call this woman a bitch?
15:27 Did this woman just accept the insult of being labeled a bitch by Jesus yet still refer to him as “master”? Must “crumbs” refer to bread crumbs or any type of leftover?
15:28 Now Jesus addresses her as “woman”! Whom else as he addressed this way? What makes her faith “great”? How would anyone know that the woman’s daughter was healed instantly?
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.