Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 9th 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 3:1-10 (11-20)
3:1 I wonder how old Samuel was at this time. I am guessing about twelve years old. Is the word of the LORD rare in our day? How do you deal with visions, either your own or someone else’s?
3:2 Is this a comment about Eli’s physical, or spiritual sight?
3:3 Was Samuel sleeping in the Holy of Holies? What do you know about the spiritual discipline of incubation?
3:4 Once again I am thinking of Dan Schutte. Do you remember Isaiah 6:8 from Trinity Sunday?
3:5 I think Eli was not very spiritually astute at this point.
3:6 Why does the LORD speak Samuel’s name twice?
3:7 Why would the LORD call someone not familiar with the LORD?
3:8 Eli finally figures out what must be going on.
3:9 How would you advise someone who was hearing voices?
3:10 Samuel did not quite give the verbatim response advised by Eli. The reading could end here unless you choose to include the optional verses.
(3:11) When did your ears last tingle. The sense mentioned in 3:2 wass sight. Now it is hearing.
(3:12) What has the LORD spoken?
(3:13) For ever? Poor Eli. What is the lesson here?
(3:14) Can the LORD not forgive?
(3:15) Why might Samuel be afraid to tell Eli his vision?
(3:16) Note that Eli calss Samuel his son! Here is yet more “Here I am.”
(3:17) Do Priests and/or ministers and/or spiritual directors need to know everything going on in a person’s inner spiritual life?
(3:18) It seems that Samuel was a totally honest boy.
(3:19) What does it mean for the LORD to be with someone? Is the LORD with you?
(3:20) How far is from Dan to Beer-sheba? Does this story account for Samuel’s trustworthiness? Is it reporting or establishing his trustworthiness?

PSALM 139:1-6, 13-18
139:1 How does the LORD search us? Does the LORD know us better than we know ourselves?
139:2 I do not care if anyone knows when I sit down or stand up, but I would rather keep som of my thoughts to myself.
139:3 It does indeed sound like the LORD knows us better than we know ourlseves. What is the implication of that?
139:4 I wonder if the LORD is even aware of our Freudian slips before we make them.
139:5 I am not sure I like the imagery of being hemmed in. What does it mean for the LORD to lay his hand upon us?
139:6 This is beginning to sound like the way of negation: describing God by what God is not rather than by what God is.

4:5 Whom is Paul speaking about and for as he uses the plural “we?” Do you know of any Christian preacher, evangelist, or church that proclaims themselves rather than Christ?
4:6 When and where did God say this? I think there is a lot you could unpack in this verse as I also think Paul might be alluding to or thinking about several stories from the Jewish Scriptures.
4:7 What are the clay jars Paul is referring to? What extraordinary power is Paul writing about?
4:8 How was Paul and his companions afflicted? Are you afflicted? How was Paul perplexed? Are you ever driven to despair?
4:9 How was Paul persecuted?  How was he struck down?
4:10 How did Paul and his companions carry the death of Jesus in their bodies? How is the life of Jesus made visible in your body?
4:11 How were Paul and his companions always being given up to death? Are we always being up toward death?
4:12 Was life not at work in Paul and his companions?

Mark 2:23-3:6
2:23 Why do we need to know that it was the Sabbath? Who are “they?”
2:24 What were Jesus’ disciples doing that was not lawful on the Sabbath?
2:25 What did David and his companions do when they were hungry and in need of food, and where can we read about it?
2:26 What is the bread of the presence?
2:27 Might we extend the meaning of this verse to other institutions other than the sabbath?  What rules, regulations, and laws other than those having to do with the sabbath?
2:28 What do you make of “even?” Were some thinking or suggesting that the Son of Man was lord only six days a week?
3:1 When had Jesus before entered the synagogue? Was it always the same synagogue?
3:2 Who watched? What did they want to accuse Jesus of?
3:3 What sort of statement is “Come Forward” and how might we interpret it?
3:4 What sort of question is this? Is Jesus catching the Pharisees in the trap they had set out for Jesus? Their silence convicts them!
3:5 How are anger and grief related? How do hearts become hardened?
3:6 This (3:1-6) and perhaps the previous encounter (2:23-28) must have really ticked off the Pharisees. Who were the Herodians and why would the Pharisees make common cause with them to destroy Jesus?

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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