Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for The 4th 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.

DEUTERONOMY 18:15-20
18:15 Who is speaking? How does God raise up prophets? Who are the prophets God has raised up in our day and age?
18:16 What and where is Horeb? What happened there? Is there any other reference to the people saying this?
18:17 Is the LORD in the habit of claiming people are right or wrong in what they say?
18:18 Is this simply a restatement of 18:15?
18:19 What does it mean to be held accountable by God? Is there anyone God does not hold accountable?
18:20 What other gods?  Do we ever presume to speak in God’s name when God has not commanded us to speak? Does not everyone eventually die?

PSALM 111
111:1 Do some Christians praise the LORD more with the mind than the heart? Who are the upright? What is the congregation?
111:2 What are the works of the Lord? How does one study them?
111:3 How do we experience the majesty and honor of God’s works?
111:4 What wonderful deeds might the Psalmist have in mind? What does it mean to gain renown?
111:5 In this context, what does it mean to fear the LORD? Does God not provide food to those who do not fear him?
111:6 What is the power of God’s works? What is the heritage of the nations?
111:7 God has hands? What are the works of God’s hands? What are God’s precepts? What does it mean that they are trustworthy? Are the works of God’s hands the same thing as God’s precepts?
111:8 What are established forever and ever, the works of God’s hands or God’s precepts? How are they performed with faithfulness and uprightness?
111:9 What is meant by redemption and how did God send it?  What is the difference between “Holy” and “awesome”? What is God’s name? Is God’s name so awesome and Holy that Christians should not pronounce it?
111:10 See my question regarding 111:5. All who practice what fear or all who practice wisdom? What is meant by “wisdom?”

1 Corinthians 8:1-13
8:1 When was the last time you were concerned about food offered to an idol? Is there any equivalent issue or similar concern in our culture or in the church today? What is meant by knowledge?
8:2 I think Socrates would have liked this verse?
8:3 Why am I thinking of Bishop Berkeley? What is preferable, to know God or to be known by God?
8:4 After all he has written about knowledge, how can Paul claim to know that “no idol in the world really exists” and that “there is no God but one?”
8:5 Who or what are these “so-called” gods and do they exist or not?
8:6 Note the “from whom” and “through whom” language. What is Paul saying?
8:4-6 What is the essence of Paul’s argument about idols, gods and God? Does this have any bearing on how we approach or engage in interfaith relations?
8:7 What is the relation between knowledge and conscience? Is Paul confusing knowledge with custom?
8:8 How might this verse impact our understanding of the spiritual discipline of fasting? What about those who are hungry, malnourished, and ministries like Bread for the World?
8:9 I understand how one person’s liberty can be another person’s stumbling block, but what about someone’s stumbling block becoming an impediment to the exercise of another person’s liberty?
8:10 In other words, don’t let people of week conscious see you engaging in adiaphorous activities?
8:11 How long shall weak believers be permitted to remain weak? Are not all believers called to grow and mature from a weak faith to a strong faith?
8:12 I would like to ask Paul what to do when people of weak faith wound my conscious by judging others when they should not be judged.
8:13 But the issue was not eating meat, rather food sacrificed to idols.
8:7-13 What is more pastoral when it comes to Bible study and preaching, to dumb things down for those whose conscious is weak, or to help people grow in faith and understanding by asking tough questions, employing recent scholarship,  and suggesting other  interpretations of Scripture they may not even be familiar with?

MARK 1:21-28
1:21 Who went to Capernaum? Where were they before they went to Capernaum? Why did they go to Capernaum and not someplace else? What do you know about Capernaum?
1:22 When was the last time you were astounded by someone’s teaching?  What does it mean to teach with authority? I’m glad I am not a scribe.
1:23 How convenient!
1:24 What is the irony here?
1:25 Why would Jesus rebuke this truth speaking spirit, even if it was an unclean spirit?
1:26 Do some people still associate convulsions with possession?
1:27 Indeed! What is this? What amazed people, a new teaching, or that Jesus taught (and acted) with authority? What is the relation between “amazed” in this verse and “astounded” in 1:22? What and where are today’s unclean spirits?
1:28 When was the last time you associated the word “fame” with Jesus? There may have been fame but apparently there was no fortune.

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.

3 comments:

GBGM in Lagonave-Edgerton said...

I came looking for ligurgies at last minute...and find this site. I find this interesting and will look it up with intent in the future.

GBGM in Lagonave-Edgerton said...

I came to this Facebook page looking for last minute ligurgies ...as a retired clergy often preaching last minute. I find this page and think it interesting and plan to look it up again for thought provoking ideas. Thank you. Shirley Edgerton

John Edward Harris said...

Thank you Shirley. Sometimes there are short liturgies here but mostly questions and comments to spark inquisitive creativity. I hope the content was helpful.