Monday, July 9, 2018
Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for 16th 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.
7:1 Who deserves credit for the Peace of David’s later reign?
7:2 What does the ark of God symbolize? Is there anything wrong with the ark staying in a tent? Is there any reason why the ark should stay in a tent?
7:3 What does David have in mind?
7:4 What does it mean when “the word of the LORD” comes to a person? Why does this mostly happen at night? Why had a word of the LORD about this not come to Nathan earlier, or to David? Has the word of the Lord ever come to you?
7:5 What was the LORD asking?
7:6 Is the LORD protesting against David’s plans? Is a tent and a tabernacle the same thing?
7:7 Why is the LORD asking such questions?
7:10 Has the LORD not already done this?
7:11 What is the play on words the Lord is making?
7:12 Why does the LORD use euphemisms to talk about death?
7:5-12 What political, theological, or other reason can you think of to justify the LORD not permitting David to build a house for the ark? How many organizing pastors are not around when a congregation builds its first physical plant? Could God not have wanted to be boxed in and domesticated?
7:13-14a Of whom is the LORD talking? Christians may interpret these verses in light of Christ but how would Israel have heard them at the time this was written? How do Jews interpret them today?
7:13 No earthly kingdom has ever lasted forever. Even the throne of Middle Earth’s Gondor was temporarily vacant.
7:14 Was David not also considered the LORD’s son?
89:20-37 I think this is the longest Psalm in the lectionary that we have seen in some time. In the NRSV there are no natural breaks.
89:20 What is the difference between ordinary, common oil and holy oil? If you anoint with oil, what sort of oil do you use?
89:21 I am surprised this is not the right hand and the right arm.
89:22 I think sometimes a national leader needs to be humbled.
89:23 This is pretty graphic imagery.
89:24 What is a horn and how is it exalted?
89:25 What does this mean?
89:26 Is this a familiar cry? Is this why this Psalm was chosen to accompany 2 Samuel 7:1-14a?
89:27 The firstborn of what?
89:28 This almost sounds like a restatement of 89:24.
89:29 From an historical perspective, has the LORD kept these promises?
89:30 Children in the biological, or the metaphorical sense?
89:31 Is there any difference between an ordinance and a statute?
89:32 What is a scourge?
89:33 How can the LORD discipline the King’s children while also promising that one of those children will inherit the throne?
89:34 Otherwise it would not be a covenant.
89:35 I hope the LORD would not lie to anyone.
89:36 See 89:29.
89:36-37 I like the astronomical imagery.
89:20-37 How can a faithful Jew or Christian read these verses in light of the destruction of the second temple, the Shoah, etc., and not think the LORD has not lived up to divine promises?
2:11 Who calls Gentiles “the uncircumcision?” Who calls “the circumcision” by that name? Is Paul coining these phrases or quoting others?
2:12 Did Jews have Christ even before the incarnation?
2:13 How has the blood of Christ brought Gentiles near?
2:12-13 Why only “Christ” in verse 12 but “Christ Jesus” in verse 13?
2:14 How has Christ broken down the dividing wall of hostility? What was the dividing wall of hostility? I cannot but help read this verse in light of the walls Israel has erected between Jewish and Palestinian neighborhoods. How has the institutional church erected its own dividing walls? You might want to consider Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall.”
2:15 Are commandments and ordinances part of the law but not the same as the law? Was the law the wall between Jews and Gentiles?
2:15-16 Is there a difference between one new humanity and one humanity being engrafted into another?
2:16 How was hostility put to death on the cross?
2:17-18 If there is now a new humanity, why does Paul write as if there were still two?
2:19 Does Paul’s Roman citizenship influence his use of “citizens” language and imagery?
2:20 Is there any theological or rhetorical connection between the “household” in this verse and the “house” imagery in 2 Samuel 7:1-14a? Paul’s imagery suggests a foundation resting on one stone.
2:21 I like this imagery. Note that in the NRSV it is “a holy temple in the Lord” not “of the Lord”.
2:22 I am really beginning to think we ought to interpret this passage through the interpretive lens of the 2 Samuel 7:1-14a. Does God dwell in us individually or corporately?
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
6:30 What do you think they had done and taught? What have you done and taught?
6:31 The first Leaders’ Retreat! When was the last time you went on a real, restful, retreat; not a vacation but a retreat?
6:32 Was the boat the deserted place or did they travel by boat to a deserted place? A few years ago I become a sailor and purchased a used twenty-four foot sailboat. I regularly sailed for up to five to seven hours at a time. Although I did not sail alone, these sails were often retreat like in nature. I did not need to sail to a deserted place. The sailboat was my deserted place.
6:33 Sailing is often a slow way to travel, especially in a light wind or against a wind and/or current. It is not hard for me to envision a group of people walking to a place faster than one could sail to it if it were along the same coast.
6:34 What are sheep like without a shepherd? It could have been worse. The great crowd could have been like cats without a shepherd. Why did the people have no shepherd?
6:53 Is “crossed over” merely a geographical reference or a metaphor for something else? Where is Gennessaret and is it of any significance?
6:54 Is this a statement meant to comment on the popularity of Jesus?
6:55 Only the sick, or also the lame, blind and possessed?
6:56 There are marketplaces in/on farms? Is there anything special about the fringe of a cloak? What other Gospel story does this remind you of? Can you recall any hymn employing “fringe” imagery? Maybe we can repeal The Affordable Care Act, along with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance, and just issue sick people some fringe to touch.
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.