Monday, December 18, 2017

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for The 1st Sunday after Christmas Day (Year B)

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.

ISAIAH 61:10-62:3
61:10 How does one’s whole being exult? Most Presbyterians only exult with the mind.  What ar garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness? I find it interesting that both bridegroom and bride imagery is employed.
61:11 It seems righteousness must take root and grow and does not materialize out of thin air. I like the organic imagery.
62:1 How can vindication be like the dawn and a burning torch?
62:2 What is the significance of being called by a new name? What could this new name be?
62:3 What is a diadem? Why are the crown and diadem in God’s hand rather than on God’s head?

PSALM 148
148:1-2 These verses could easily be adapted for use as a Call to Worship.  Note, however, that it is the angels and the heavenly host, not humans, being called to worship.
149:3 The Hubble Telescope might offer us images of shining stars praising the LORD.
149:4 What waters are above the heavens?
149:5 Which creation story does this allude to?
149:6 Where are the bounds?
149:7 What comes to your mind when you think of sea monsters?
149:8 Shall we think of tornadoes and hurricanes as praising God even as they leave behind death and destruction?
149:9 How can the mountains and hills praise the Lord when in Appalachia they are being removed for the coal beneath them?
149:10 Not long ago the Pope said that animals go to heaven, so perhaps they should indeed be praising the Lord.
149:11 After numerous physical features and living creatures are named, humans finally appear.
149:12 How does the presence of both “men” and “women” speak to patriarchy?  How does the presence of both “old” and “young” speak to a church that is graying and which has more or less failed to attract the younger generation?
149:13 What is the name of the Lord and how can it be praised if it is not pronounced?
149:14 What is a horn and why would the Lord raise one up for the people?

GALATIANS 4:4-7
4:4 What is “full” time?  Is this kairos time, chronos time, or the eschaton?  John Shelby Spong used a phrase from this verse as the title of his book about the birth of Jesus.  Why would Paul refer to Jesus being born of a woman rather than of the Virgin Mary?
4:5 Who were under the law?
4:6 What do you think about translating “Abba” as “Daddy”?
4:4-7 These verses seem to base adoption as God’s children upon Jesus’ birth, so why did he have to die?

LUKE 2:22-40
22:22 What time was this? What is this referring to?
22:23 Where is this written?
22:24 Why two turtledoves but no partridge in a pear tree or three French hens?
22:25 Is there anything special about the name Simeon?  What is the consolation of Israel?
22:26 I wonder how this was revealed. Perhaps it was revealed in a dream.
22:27 What was customary under the law?
22:28 The child’s father and mother simply let Simeon take the child in his arms?
22:29 Who is the master?
22:30 What has Simeon seen?
22:31 To who does “the peoples” refer?
22:32 Gentiles?  I think Luke might be the only Gospel that could say this.
22:33 Why are the father and mother not named?
22:34 What is the nature of this prophesy?
22:35 What is the meaning of “a sword will pierce your own soul too?” Mary is finally named. Why is the father not named?
22:36 Do we know anything else about Anna? Note that she is called a “prophet!”
22:37 She never ate? She never went home? Why are we being told this about Anna?
22:38 I wonder what Anna said.
22:39 Note yet one more reference to the law, but this time not the law of Moses, rather, the law of the Lord.
22:40 Luke is long on prose but short on detail. We have learned more about Simeon and Anna than about this unnamed child. Does this verse remind you of any other verse in Scripture?

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. My various blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and Appalachian Trials.

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