Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (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.

1 SAMUEL 8:4-11 (12-15), 16-20 (11:14-15)
8:4-20, 11:14-15 This long reading if one includes all the verses. I do not see what is really added by including 8:12-15 and 11:14-15 and will not include them in the reading.
8:4 Who are the elders of Israel and why did they come to Samuel? Why was Samuel at Ramah?
8:5 I wonder how old Samuel was. What did the elders mean when saying “your sons do not follow in your ways”?  Were the elders experiencing Kingness envy?
8:6 Why did the elder’s request displease Samuel?
8:7 It sounds like the LORD is more comfortable with the elder’s request than Samuel is.
8:8 Some people do not change.
8:9 Some things do not change. Is this foresight or hindsight?
8:10 I wonder how Samuel did this. I wonder if the people listened to him.
8:11 The first military draft?
(8:12) This sounds like REALLY big government and the beginning of the military-industrial complex.
(8:13) Forget military conscription, this is sounding like slavery.
(8:14) This sounds like eminent domain.
(8:15) The first tax?
8:16 This is getting out of control.
8:17 Did the LORD lead the people out of slavery so that they could be slaves under their own king?
8:18 Why will the LORD not answer?
8:19 Of course the people did not listen to Samuel. People hardly ever listen to a prophet. But by not listening to Samuel, were they also not listening to God?
8:20 Why such a desire to be like other nations?
(11:14) Why do we shift from a desire for a king to renewing the kingship. Why go to Gilgal?
(11:15) Based on what came before in this reading, was Saul predestined for failure?

138:1 What “gods?”
138:2 What direction do you face when you give thanks to the LORD? What is the relation between God’s name and God’s word?
138:3 I wonder what day that was. What does a soul with increased strength feel like?
138:4 All the kings of the earth shall praise the LORD?  Who is this psalmist kidding? In light of the First Reading, the Psalmist ought to be happy if the King of Israel praises the LORD.
138:5 What are the ways of the LORD?
138:6 Who are the lowly and who are the haughty?
138:7 What is the symbolic meaning of God’s right hand (other than discrimination against left handed people)?
138:8 To whom is this verse addressed?

2 CORINTHIANS 4:13-5:1
4:13 What is the spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture? What is meant by “scripture?” Where does “I believed, and so I spoke” come from?
4:14 How do know this?
4:15 Does this “your” refer to only Christians in Corinth or to a larger group?
4:16 What is the outer nature and what is the inner nature?
4:17 What is the “slight momentary affliction” to which Paul refers?
4:18 How do we look at things that cannot be seen?  I want to default to Plato’s forms here.
5:1 If Paul had been of a trade other than tentmaker, would he have employed a different metaphor? Is Paul alluding to the Tabernacle/Tent of Meeting?

Mark 3:20-35
3:20 When was the crowd together before now?  Who could not eat? It has been several Sunday’s since the Lectionary assigned a Reading from Mark. Do we need to be reminded of where we are in Mark’s narrative?
3:21 Whose family? Why would people be saying this?
3:22 Why did scribes come down from Jerusalem? Who, or what, is Beelzebul?
3:23 How did we get from Beelzebul in 3:22 to Satan in 3:23?
3:24-25 Who does Jesus think he is, Abraham Lincoln? Did President Lincoln take this verse out of context when he used it to critique the Civil War?
3:26 Can Satan be divided?
3:27 What is Jesus insinuating? What about waiting until the strong man is not around?
3:28 What is the difference between sins and blasphemies?
3:29 What is “blasphemy” against the Holy Spirit and why does Jesus say this? Theologically speaking, can there really be an unforgivable, eternal sin if God chooses to forgive it?
3:30 What is an unclean spirit?
3:31 What brothers?
3:32 What sisters? Roman Catholics may have more of an issue with 3:31-32 than Protestants will.
3:33 Is this a rhetorical question?
3:34-35 What sort of family values are being demonstrated here?

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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