Sunday, February 4, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 1st Sunday in Lent (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.

PREFACE
It is a subtle grammatical distinction that makes an important theological and liturgical point when we identify Sundays “in” Lent rather than “of” lent. Do I need to say more?

GENESIS 9:8-17
9:8 Why does God not address the women? Why are the sons not named?
9:9 This is the first, the Noahic, not the Abrahamic covenant. The Covenant with Abraham (and Sarah) came later.
9:10 What are the implications for an ecological ethic? “Every animal of the earth” reminds me of the Native American “All my relations.”
9:11 Apparently God did not know about global climate change.
9:12-13  And the name of this sign is Roy G. Biv! Note that the covenant is not just with Noah or Noah and animals but the earth.
9:14 What is the science behind this?
9:15-16 Would God forget with this sign to jog the divine memory?
9:17 Is the sign of the covenant anything like the sign (and seal) of a sacrament? By the 17th verse, I am starting to hear redundancies.
9:13-17 The rainbow is not there for us but for God, to remind God. Sacraments are not there for God but for us, to remind us.
9:8-17 It is unfortunate that this passage does not mention the number forty.

PSALM 25:1-10
25:1 I am used to hearing about the lifting up of the eyes and familiar with the lifting up hands.  I wonder how many instances there are of lifting up of the soul. How do we lift up our souls to the LORD?
25:2 What is more biblical, trusting in God or believing in God? What, in your mind, is the difference between “trust” and “belief?”
25:3 What does it mean to wait for God and in this context who is waiting for God?
24:4How can the LORD “make” us know?
24:5 How does the LORD “teach”? Note “wait” in this verse as well as 25:3.
25:6 This sounds like the Psalmist is trying to remind a forgetful God. Maybe the Psalmist needed a multi-colored reminder to set before God.
25:7 I guess it is all right for God to forget some things, like my sins, but not other things, like God’s mercy and steadfast love. Are the “sins of my youth” the same as youthful indiscretions?
25:8-9 What is God’s “way”?
25:10 How many paths of the LORD are there? Can this verse be used to defend religious and spiritual  pluralism?

1 PETER 3:18-22
3:18 Christ suffered for whose sins? Christ was “made” alive in the spirit?
3:19 What spirits in what prison? Does this account for the “he descended into hell” phrase in The Apostles’ Creed?
3:20 Was this Second Reading selected in light of the First Reading, or vice versa? I compliment Peter on his theological creativity and seeing in the story of Noah a prefiguration of Christian Baptism.
3:21 Baptism may not remove dirt but what about sin?  Whose good conscience is being referred to?
3:22 What “authorities and powers” might Peter have had in mind?

Mark 1:9-15
1:9 In what days? Why was Jesus baptized?
1:10 Who saw what? If you had been there, what would you have seen?
1:11 Who heard this voice? Whose voice was this? Will we hear anything like this again in Mark’s Gospel?
1:12 How many times in Mark do we find “immediately?” Why would the Spirit drive Jesus out into the wilderness? What do you think of when you hear “wilderness?”
1:13 Why “forty days” and not “forty days and nights”?  How was Jesus tempted by Satan? Mark does not enumerate or name them, only Matthew and Luke do. How shall we understand and interpret this “Satan?” Why does Mark mention that Jesus was with the wild beasts? How did the Angels “wait” on Jesus?
1:14 Why did Jesus not come to Galilee until after John was arrested?  Where was Jesus before he came to Galilee? What is the “good news of God?” For any news to be good one must recognize that things can always be better.
1:15 What time is fulfilled?

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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