Monday, January 1, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for 2nd Sunday after Epiphany (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.

The 2nd Sunday after Epiphany can also be called The 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Nomenclature depends upon one’s denominational affiliation.

1 SAMUEL 3:1-10 (11-20)
3:1-10 Will you use all twenty verses or just the first ten? I generally use just the first ten.
3:1 What does it mean that “the voice of the Lord was rare in those days”?  What does the voice of the Lord sound like? Is the voice of the Lord rare today? Why are visions no longer widespread?
3:2 What does Eli’s failing eyesight have to do with the story?
3:3 What is the lamp of God? What does the ark of God represent? What do you know about the spiritual discipline of incubation?  Have you ever slept in the sanctuary of a church?
3:4 Why does the Lord call Samuel’s name twice? Who else is called with their name being used twice? Where have we heard “Here I am” before? Why am I thinking of Dan Schutte?
3:5 Maybe the problem was that Eli had not called him.
3:6 Why does Eli refer to Samuel as “my son”?
3:7 How can God be calling a person by name if that person does not know God or the word of God has not yet been revealed to that person? What does it mean to know the Lord? What does it mean for the word of the Lord to be revealed?
3:8 Is there any symbolism behind the fact that God called Samuel three times?
3:9 How often do we not listen when the Lord is speaking? What do you think of the Spiritual Direction Eli offers Samuel?
3:10 Note that the Lord did not call but rather “stood” there?  Was this a vision or was the Lord physically present?
(3:11) What makes your ears tingle? Do your ears ever tingle during Sunday morning worship?
(3:12) But we have not heard (in this reading) what was spoken.
(3:13) What does this say to parents whose children are not churched?
(3:14) So sacrifices and offerings have only limited effect?
(3:15) How many people do you think might have experienced a spiritual vision but are afraid to talk about it with anyone, even their pastor?
(3:16) Samuel still responds to Eli the same way he responded to God. How many times have we heard “Here I am” in this passage?
(3:17) How many people hide spiritual matters from their Pastor or Spiritual Director? Why is Eli so interested in what the Lord told Samuel
(3:18) Who is quoted, Samuel or Eli?
(3:19) What does it mean for the Lord to be with someone? Is the Lord with you? Do your words
ever fall to the ground?
(3:20) How does one earn the trustworthiness of others? What is the difference between a trustworthy and an untrustworthy prophet?

PSALM 139:1-6, 13-18
139:1 How does the Lord search us?  What does it mean to be known by the Lord?
139:2 How far away?
139:3 What is the meaning of “path”?
139:4 How can God know what we are going to say before we ourselves know?
139:5 What does it mean to be hemmed in by God?
139:6 What was inscribed on the Temple at the Oracle of Delphi?
139:13 What about in-vitro fertilization?
139:14 Can the Human body, or the human eye, still be used to argue for intelligent design?  What would Darwin say about this verse? What would an Oncologist say?
139:15 Was the psalmist woven in the depths of the earth or knitted in his or her mother’s womb?
139:16 What is unformed substance? Is this book available for Kindle or the Nook? Can I purchase it from Amazon?
139:17 How much do God’s thoughts weigh? How can thoughts be added up?
139:18 Do you recall the story of Augustine and sand at the beach?

6:12 Just because I have the right to do something does not mean I should do it.
6:13 What is the definition of fornication? Did it mean anything different in Paul’s day than it does today? How do we responsibly deal with this verse when many young adults are postponing marriage until they are in their late 20’s or even early 30’s?
6:14 How did we go from food to fornication to resurrection?
6:15 Is Paul suggesting that fornication and prostitution are one and the same?
6:16 I wonder if Paul is thinking about cultic/temple/pagan prostitution of just run of the mill sex-for-hire prostitution.
6:17 How does one become united to the Lord?
6:12-18 Why is Paul singling out fornication? Perhaps Paul doth protest too much.
6:19-20 I think these verses have been used to speak out against the abuse as well as the use of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, meat, and who knows what else.

JOHN 1:43-51
1:43 What happened the day before this? Please note: Jesus found Philip.  Philip did not find Jesus.  I think I will market a new bumper sticker saying “Jesus Found Me.”
1:44 What do you know about Bethsaida? I wonder if Philip knew Andrew and Peter.
1:45 Who was Nathaniel? Maybe I will market a bumper sticker that reads “Philip Found Me.” Who are “we?”  I would not be expecting to read “son of Joseph here”?  Why not son of Mary or The Virgin Mary?
1:46 Is this a rhetorical question?  What was the problem with Nazareth? Is not “come and see” the quintessential invitation?  I prefer it to “Are you saved?”
1:47 How could Jesus know this? Compare this to John 1:29 and 1:36. At this point I would be expecting to read a lot more about Nathaniel than we are given in this Gospel.
1:48 I think Psalm 139:16 would have been a better answer. Was there only one fig tree in Bethsaida?
1:49 And Jesus did not even ask Nathaniel who people said he (Jesus) was! Does Nathaniel’s statement qualify as a confession of faith?
1:50 Nathaniel will see greater things than what?
1:51 Was this ever fulfilled or is Nathaniel still waiting to see this spectacular thing? Why would angels of God be both ascending and descending upon the Son of Man? Is this the first occurrence of “Son of Man” imagery and language in this Gospel?


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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