Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for The 4th Sunday of Easter (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.

ACTS 4:5-12
4:5 What happened the day before?  Who are the “they” of the “their”?
4:6 Annas and Caiaphas I am familiar with.  Who are John and Alexander?
4:7 What prisoners?  Did what? How are “power” and “name” connected?
4:8 Was Peter filled with the Holy Spirit prior to this or just for this?
4:9 Why is Peter being questioned? Are others also being questioned?
4:10 Juxtapose this verse and its “name” with Psalm 23:3 and 1 John 3:23
4:8-10 Peter’s response might have been better received if he had not accused his interlocutors of crucifying Jesus.
4:11 What is Peter quoting or alluding to?
4:12 This sounds like confessional language. How is healing (4:10) akin to salvation?

23:1-6 Is this Psalm too familiar for us to hear it anew? If the Shepherd image no longer works for most people, what other images might we employ – dog walker, home health care or child care worker, guide?
23:1 Note that in the NRSV, LORD is all uppercase.  So what?
23:2 Have you ever been prone in a green pasture?  Have you ever been led by still waters?
23:3 Juxtapose with Acts 4:10 and I John 3:23
23:4 What is the darkest valley you have ever walked through?  Are a rod and a staff two different things or is this an example of Hebraic poetic repetition? How can a rod and staff comfort?
23:5 Have you ever eaten a meal in the presence of your enemies?  Has your head ever been anointed with oil? What is the meaning of an overflowing cup?
23:6 What and where is the house of the LORD? Would you want to dwell in the house of the LORD your whole life long?

1 JOHN 3:16-24
3:16 Who is “he”?  What does it mean to lay down one’s life? Consider John 10:11-18
3:17 Ouch! Perhaps we ought to read this in light of the Acts Reading (Acts 4:32-35) from two weeks ago.
3:18 Why the moniker “little children?”
3:19 It is beginning to sound like “truth” is being personified.
3:20 It sounds like one’s heart is the same as one inner voice or conscience. How and when do our hearts condemn us?
3:21 What does boldness before God look and feel like?
3:22 What has been asked? Whose commandments? Which commandments? Is there a quid pro quo here? Is this verse about prayer?
3:23 Where have I heard something like this before? Juxtapose this verse with Acts 4:10 and Psalm 23:3. What does it mean to believe in a name?
3:23-24 Consider this in the context of John 15:1-17.

John 10:11-18
10:11 And which Psalm are you know thinking of?
10:12-13 Who is the hired hand?
10:14 Should we make anything of the “I am” language? How do “I am” passages function in John’s Gospel?
10:15 Is Jesus referring to the crucifixion? See 1 John 3:16.
10:16 I love this verse and its invitation to think about Christian universalism.  What does it mean for there to be many folds in one flock? What is the difference between a fold and flock?
10:17 Does the Father need a reason to love the Son? Does the notion of Jesus taking up his life again conflict in any way with Jesus being raised rather than rising?
10:18 What command?

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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