Sunday, October 15, 2017

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time / Proper 25 (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.

34:1-3 Why all the geographical references? Do we know today where all these places are?
34:4 Once again, the women are not mentioned. Why would God allow Moses to see this land, even show him this land, if he were not going to be allowed to enter it?
34:5 Did Moses die on Mount Nebo or on the plains of Moab?
34:6 We know the vicinity of where he was buried but not the actual place.  Why not?
34:7 Is there any sexual connotation here?
34:8 Why mourn thirty days?
34:9 Was Joshua ordained by Moses?  What is so special about the laying on of hands? Why? What do you know about Reiki and body work?
34:10 It was true then but is it still true today? The LORD may have known Moses face to face but did Moses know the LORD face to face?
34:11 What signs and wonders?
34:12 What mighty deeds and terrifying displays of power? Is this verse simply reiterating the preceding verse for emphasis and linguistic effect?

PSALM 90:1-6, 13-17
90:1 How can the Lord be a dwelling place?  What does it mean to dwell in the Lord?
90:2 God was God even before the big bang.
90:3 Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, or in a more modern cosmology, ashes to ashes, star-dust to star-dust.
90:4 I know this is metaphor, but do the metaphorical math.  1000years = 1 day. What is a watch in the night? What might Einstein say about this verse?
90:5 What does “them” refer to, to mortals or to 1000 years? How are dreams like grass renewed in the morning?
90:6 Is this a comment about the human lifespan?
90:13 Is the Psalmist asking the LORD to repent?
90:14 I think this verses harkens back to 90:5b.  As the grass is renewed in the morning, God’s steadfast love renews us daily.
90:15 How many days has the Psalmist’s community been afflicted? How many years have they seen evil?
90:16 Is the Psalmist asking the LORD to show some results?
90:17 What work?
90:1-6,13-17 Does this psalm reflect the pre-Exodus or post-Exodus period? God is timeless but we are not. May our labor, our work, not be in vain.

2:1 Were some claiming that it was in vain?
2:2 Shame on those Philippians. What was the nature of the great opposition? What do we do with this “gospel of God” when we usually use the terminology “Gospel of Jesus Christ”?
2:3 Were some claiming that Paul and his companions were engaging in deceit, impure motives, or trickery? Are any contemporary religious leaders similarly accused, true or falsely?
2:4 Is this a biblical warrant for being faithful over being popular or successful?
2:5 I am hearing a refrain.  “As you know” here and “You yourselves know” in 2:1
2:6 What religious leader does not occasionally appreciate praise, especially during Clergy Appreciation Month?
2:7 What sort of demands?  What might the imagery of a “nurse tenderly caring for her own children” suggest?
2:8 How does Paul and his colleagues share their own selves?

MATTHEW 22:34-46
22:34 Is the Gospel writer playing on some rivalry here? What is the difference between Pharisees and Sadducees?
22:35 What is the meaning of “test”?
22:36 Was he asking about the Decalogue or the entire Levitical law code? Was this anything like a presbytery’s examination of a candidate seeking ordination?
22:37 What is Jesus quoting? Is this from The Shema?
22:38-39 If this is the first and greatest, how can there be anything like it?
22:39 What is Jesus quoting?
22:40 Why does Jesus add the prophets to the law?
22:41 This is becoming a dialogue.  Is this question also a test, a tit for tat? Is Jesus attempting to turn the tables?
22:42 Were not all male Jews “sons of David?”
22:43 Why does Jesus say “by the Spirit”?
22:44 What is Jesus quoting?
22:45 Jesus and I are still waiting for the Pharisees to answer. How would you answer the question?
22:46 As a practitioner of the Socratic Method, I think questions are good.  Sometimes the questions we ask are more important than any answer we might receive. Why would the Pharisees no longer ask Jesus and questions?

I am a Minister Member of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and am serving as the Pastor of the Bethlehem United Presbyterian Church, Wheeling, WV. Sunday Worship at Bethlehem begins at 10:45 AM. Here is Bethlehem United's Facebook address:

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