Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time / Proper 20 (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.

EXODUS 16:2-15
16:2 Why might Pastor’s sometimes feel like Moses and Aaron?  How do we complain and what do we complain about?
16:3 What is a “fleshpot?” Why would the Israelites have preferred to die in slavery in Egypt rather than in freedom in the wilderness?
16:4 How is God sending bread to a hungry people a test?  What exactly and specifically are God’s instructions?
16:5 Why is twice as much provided and gathered on the sixth day?
16:6 In 16:4 the Lord spoke to Moses, but here both Moses and Aaron speak to the Israelites. What is so special about the evening?
16:7 How will the people see the glory of the Lord in the morning? What is “the glory of the Lord”? Were the people complaining against the Lord or against Moses and Aaron?
16:8 The Lord has promised bread but not said anything about meat. Is this verse an expanded reiteration of the verse preceding it?
16:9 Was Aaron only Moses’ spokesperson? What does it mean to draw near to the Lord?
16:10 If the people were already in the wilderness, how could they look “toward” the wilderness?  What and where is your wilderness?
16:11 This has to be one of the shortest verses in the Hebrew Scriptures.
16:12 How shall eating meat and bread convince people that the Lord is their God? Where is the meat coming from?
16:13 Here comes the aforementioned meat. Have you ever eaten a quail?  I have. Quail is delicious but not very satisfying if you are particularly hungry.
16:14 What is this fine flakey substance called?
16:15 How can a fine flaky substance be considered bread?

PSALM 105:1-6, 37-45, 45b
105:1 What is the LORD’s name?  How can one call on the LORD’s name when one is not permitted to pronounce the LORD’s name? What are the LORD’s deeds? Who are the “peoples?”
105:2 What are the LORD’s wonderful works? Are the wonderful works the same as the deeds?
105:3 How do we glory in God’s name?
105:4 Is the LORD’s strength the same as the Lord’s presence?  Does presence bring strength?
105:5 This is the second time wonderful works are mentioned.  Are the wonderful works the same as miracles and judgments?  Is this just a feature of Hebrew poetry or is something else going here.
105:6 Why are offspring always the offspring of only men? The Hebrew Scriptures often mentioned the descendants of Abraham and Jacob, skipping over Isaac. Why?
105:37 What does the silver and gold refer to?
105:38 If Egypt was glad, why did the Egyptian army pursue the fleeing Israelites?
105:39 So the cloud was not only a sign of God’s presence but also camouflage for the Israelites?
105:40 Did the people ask or complain?
105:41 What does this verse reference?
105:42 What was the holy promise? Could the LORD possibly forget that promise?
105:43 Can we had complaining and grumbling to joy and singing?
105:44 So the LORD’s people were given what was not theirs?
105:45 Had the LORD bribed the Israelites?

1:21 How can dying be gain?
1:22 What does Paul mean by flesh?
1:23 What preferences is Paul internally debating?
1:24 Whose remaining in the flesh, Paul’s or the Philippians’?
1:25 What is Paul convinced of?
1:26 Were the Philippians boasting?
1:27 What is a life worthy of the gospel? How does one stand firm? What does Paul mean by one spirit?
1:28 Who were the opponents? What evidence is Paul referring to?
1:29 Does believing always go hand in hand with suffering?
1:30 What struggle did the Philippians and Paul share?

MATTHEW 20:1-16
20:1 This is a kingdom parable.
20:2 What is the usual daily wage?
20:3 Why were these others standing idle in the marketplace?
20:4 What wage would be right?
20:5-7 It seems the landowner goes out about every two or three hours. Why were these people not around earlier in the day? Why did the landowner night hire more workers the first time?
20:8 Who is the landowner and who is the manager? The last shall be first and the first last – this is the only way this parable works. Where else in the Gospels can we find this sort of reversal?
20:9 Why did those who worked only a few hours receive the usual daily wage?
20:10 Why did those hired earlier and who worked longer expect to be paid more than the usual daily wage?
20:11 Where else in today’s Readings have we heard about grumbling?
20:12 I can sympathize with the sentiment.
20:13 This is true but it still seems unfair.
20:14 Why did the landowner choose to do this?
20:15 Are these more than rhetorical questions?
20:16 What is the meaning of this?

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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